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Russia, Ukraine discuss winter gas supply

Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:09 AM

MOSCOW, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- Russian energy company Gazprom said Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Boiko was in Moscow to discuss winter gas supplies to European consumers.

Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller met with Boiko to address what the energy company said was a long-term strategic cooperation in the natural gas sector.

"Consideration was also given to readiness of the Ukrainian gas transmission system for the forthcoming winter period," Gazprom said. "Special attention was paid to assurance of uninterrupted Russian gas transit to Europe."

Gazprom in October said its own underground gas supply system was "generally ready" for the upcoming winter season.

European consumers were left in the cold during the 2009 winter when Gazprom cut gas supplies through Ukraine because of contractual disputes. Eager to avoid geopolitically sensitive territory in Ukraine, both sides have moved toward alternative pipeline systems that would diversify the regional energy sector. Most of the Russian gas bound for Europe runs through Soviet-era pipelines in Ukraine.

Kiev said recently it would buy less natural gas from Russian next year despite a take-or-pay contractual agreement.

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