Ukraine cuts gas ties to Gazprom

Nov. 12, 2013 at 6:28 AM

KIEV, Ukraine, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz stopped purchasing natural gas from its Russian counterpart Gazprom last week, government data show.

Naftogaz booked 113 billion cubic feet of natural gas from Gazprom for October. The Ukrainian bureau for the Interfax news agency cites the country's Central Dispatching Department of the Fuel and Energy Complex as indicating Monday that volume declined to zero by Friday.

Contractual disputes between Ukraine and Gazprom prompted Russia in 2009 to cut off natural gas supplies. That left downstream consumers in Europe without natural gas for several weeks because most of their Russian gas supplies head through Soviet-era pipelines in Ukraine.

Ukraine complained of the terms of a deal that broke the impasse. In early November, Gazprom said Ukraine had more than $880 million in unsettled debt from its August natural gas bills, sparking fears of another gas spat.

The Ukrainian government said it was becoming less reliant on Russian natural gas. President Viktor Yanukovych said a $10 billion shale natural gas deal signed last week with U.S. energy company Chevron would make his country energy independent by 2020.

There was no specific indication of what prompted the decision from Naftogaz or response from Gazprom.

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