KIEV, Ukraine, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The Ukrainian government petitioned the European Union for the use of so-called technical gas to ensure gas transits to Europe, officials said Thursday.
"Ukraine proposes considering the possible provision of natural gas for the technical needs of its gas transportation system from the volume of Russian natural gas destined for European consumers, with the further registration of documents," Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Prodan said in a letter to European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs obtained by Interfax-Ukraine.
Technical gas is considered the minimum volume for pipeline functionality.
A row over gas arrears and 2009 contracts between Ukraine and Russia entered its second week of negotiations as European customers endure a winter cold spell. Europe gets about 20 percent of its natural gas from arteries transiting from Russia through Ukraine.
Each side blamed the other for delaying a resolution to the deal, with Ukraine accusing Moscow of price gouging and political aggression, while Moscow blames Ukraine for balking on negotiations and siphoning gas for domestic consumption.
Ukraine requires about 7.4 billion cubic feet of "technical gas" per day to maintain normal pipeline operations.
Russian gas monopoly Gazprom said Tuesday it resumed gas transits as international monitors were dispatched to pipeline stations as part of a negotiated settlement, though Europe complained supplies were low.