Alexey Miller, CEO of the Russian energy supplier Gazprom, listens during a press conference as part of a meeting of the European Union energy commissioner Guenther Oettinger Russia’s energy minister Alexander Novak and Ukraine’s energy minister Yuri Prodan in Berlin, Friday.BRUSSELS — Russia and Ukraine on Monday made substantial progress toward reaching an agreement on a lower price for gas deliveries and the payment of outstanding debt by Kiev, in a bid to avert a disruption of gas supplies that could also affect western Europe, a top EU official said.
The chief executives of the two sides’ state gas companies agreed on a proposal that would see a lower gas price for Ukraine complete with a debt repayment schedule, said the European Union’s Energy Commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, who hosted the negotiations in Brussels.
Russia’s Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz will now take the proposal to their experts and shareholders for approval, notably the respective governments, which is the prerequisite for another round of talks to seal the deal in the coming days, he said.
Oettinger declined to divulge the envisioned new gas price for Ukraine, but said it would be lower than the $485 Ukraine currently pays but above the discounted rate of $268 per 1,000 cubic meters it was once granted by Russia. The price should then be held steady for one year to guarantee supply safety, he added.
In the EU-facilitated talks that also featured both countries’ energy ministers, the parties agreed Russia will neither request prepayment for further deliveries nor restrict supplies while negotiations continue, the EU said.
The progress in the talks came after Ukraine’s Naftogaz paid Gazprom $786 million for the February and March supplies following the first round of EU-mediated talks in Berlin last week.
Officials were keen on avoiding an interruption of gas deliveries to Kiev because it could also disrupt supplies for western Europe since Ukraine is an important gas transit country.
Moscow has put Kiev’s gas debts dating back to November at $3.5 billion, and Miller said last week that gas delivered in May could take it up to $5.2 billion. Oettinger said only the bills for two months from last year and April and May of this year are now outstanding, but he did not cite an overall debt figure.
Ukraine, which saw price discounts granted by Russia canceled following the ouster of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, has been seeking a new price agreement before settling debts.
Gazprom scrapped a discount granted to Yanukovych in December and then another rebate linked to a 2010 deal on Russian navy presence in Ukraine’s Crimea region, which Moscow annexed in March. Canceling the discounts raised the price by 80 percent.
Yanukovych fled to Russia in February after months of protests, triggered by his decision to dump a pact with the EU in favor of closer ties with Moscow.MORE IN Wire NewsCASTLE HILLS, Texas — Five people died Sunday after a fire broke out at a senior-living apartment... Full StoryZAGREB, Croatia — The liberal incumbent and a conservative rival are heading for a showdown in a... Full StoryATHENS, Greece — Italian and Greek military and coast guard rescue crews battled gale-force winds... Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1900, a crew arrives at a Scottish isle lighthouse to find the previous crew has vanished; in 1944, George S. Patton relieves Bastogne; in 1890, 'Uncle Charlie' Osborne born; in 1891, Henry Miller born in New York.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Capt. James Cook discovers and names Christmas Island, Brits develop and test H-bombs there in 1957-58; 100 years ago today, Christmas truce takes hold on Western Front in France, combatants observe the holiday.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Gen. Wm. T. Sherman concludes March to the Sea, secures Savannah, Ga., offers the city as Christmas gift to Pres. Lincoln; N.Y.'s Lincoln Tunnel opens in 1937; first gorilla born in captivity, Colo, celebrates 58th birthday today.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Brent Curtis reports on the probe into a city bar fight involving police officers; Vt. Yankee has its last media day event before final shutdown next week; Depot Park hosts annual vigil to raise awareness of plight of homeless.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont Gas Systems puts Phase 2 on hold as the latest estimate for Phase 1 takes a 27 percent leap upward, to a total of $157 million; U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin quits for job with private firm; police cite man in pot bust.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Christmas bombing of North Vietnam ordered by President Richard Nixon, most lethal strikes of the war; in 1989, U.S. invades Panama to depose, arrest and charge Gen. Manuel Noriega with drug trafficking, racketeering.