Naftogaz, Gazprom plan gas talks

Sept. 16, 2009 at 11:54 AM
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MOSCOW, Sept. 16 (UPI) -- Representatives from Ukrainian utility Naftogaz plan to sit down with their counterparts at Gazprom to examine the terms of a bilateral natural gas deal.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who announced she is running for president for January 2010 elections, reached an agreement with Vladimir Putin, the Russian premier, to import less gas than outlined in a January contract without penalty.

Gazprom cut gas supplies to Ukraine in January following a bitter row over contracts and debt. The contract settling that dispute places strict requirements on Kiev in terms of payment deadlines and purchase volumes.

Tymoshenko said her country would buy slightly more than 800 billion cubic feet of gas for 2010, which is half the amount outlined in the January contract. Talks between Naftogaz and Gazprom set for next week may include negotiations to formalize that deal, RIA Novosti reports.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described the deal as a "gesture of goodwill" as worries of a winter gas crisis loom.

Tymoshenko said her country had enough gas in storage to meet winter demand, however.

Naftogaz did not confirm the agenda of its talks with Gazprom, saying details would emerge only after the meetings.

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