KIEV, Ukraine, Sept. 14 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian government asked Russian energy company Gazprom for natural gas deliveries for 2013 that amount to half of current levels, a minister said.
Ukraine in 2012 took on about 18 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from Gazprom. Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Boiko asked for substantially less for next year.
"We sent it (the 2013 application) to them before the deadline specified in the contract, the end of June, and our plans are based on the amount contained in the application, 865 billion cubic feet," Boiko was quoted by Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti as saying.
Kiev had tried to amend its contract with Gazprom for 2010 though the Russian side said it was too late in the year to make changes. The deal with Gazprom is a "take-or-pay" scheme, meaning Kiev pays for a predetermined volume.
Spats between Gazprom and Kiev have resulted in natural gas disruptions, most recently in 2009. Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko is serving a seven-year prison term after a conviction on charges she abused her authority in a deal that helped settle that impasse.
Boiko had said increasing domestic production was of national interest. Ukraine ranks third among European countries in terms of shale natural gas reserves, with an estimated 42 trillion cubic feet.