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Gazprom, Ukraine lock horns over gas

Nov. 27, 2012 at 6:04 AM

MOSCOW, Nov. 27 (UPI) -- Uninterrupted natural gas deliveries to Europe through the Ukrainian transit system loomed large in discussions with a representative from Kiev, Gazprom said.

A report this week from The Moscow Times states Gazprom may sue its Ukrainian counterpart Naftogaz and issue penalties should the Ukrainian side take on less gas than what's outlined in their contract.

European consumers get about 20 percent of their natural gas from Russia and the bulk of that runs though the Soviet-era transit system in Ukraine.

Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller met with Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Boiko in Moscow to discuss what Gazprom said was long-term strategic cooperation.

"The parties also discussed the issues related to uninterrupted transit of Russian gas via Ukraine to Europe in the current autumn/winter period," a Gazprom statement read.

Gazprom, most recently in 2009, has severed gas supplies to Ukraine because of contractual disputes, leaving European consumers in the cold for several weeks. Kiev had said recently it would take on less gas from Russia despite a take-or-pay mechanism in place.

The meeting over winter natural gas supplies was the second such session in Moscow between both sides this month.

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