Gazprom to meet EU gas needs

Dec. 29, 2008 at 10:56 AM
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MOSCOW, Dec. 29 (UPI) -- The board of directors at Russian energy giant Gazprom Monday said they would meet European gas demands despite a row with transit country Ukraine.

Kiev is at odds with Gazprom over outstanding gas debts. Russia has threatened to cut off supplies to Ukraine if the matter was not settled.

Ukraine hosts 80 percent of the Russian natural gas transiting to Europe. A similar row in 2006 briefly disrupted European gas supplies.

"The Board of Directors took notice of the information relevant to the calculations status and relationships prospects for Gazprom and business enterprises of Ukraine in the gas sector," the board said Monday.

The board said it requires full settlement of the Ukrainian debt for received gas before moving forward with 2009 negotiations. Gazprom claims it is owed $2 billion by Wednesday, while Ukraine claims the debt is lower and may be settled at a later date.

Meanwhile, a Ukrainian lawmaker allied with Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said Monday Kiev backed an earlier proposal to form a gas consortium with Russia, RIA Novosti said.

"The idea has been discussed, all the basic documentation has been signed," said Parliament Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn. "We should examine this very seriously and gain a mutual advantage. The idea is good, and it needs to be brought back."

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