23 September 2014, News Wires – The European Commission is reportedly pushing for an interim gas agreement between Russia and Ukraine as it seeks to avert possible supply disruption to the continent during the winter.
The three parties are due to sit down for talks on 26 September to resolve a gas pricing dispute between the two countries that resulted in Russia’s Gazprom cutting off supplies to Ukrainian state gas utility Naftogaz earlier this summer.
“Our proposal is to realise an interim solution to avoid problems with supply for winter season up to April next year,” European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger was quoted as saying by Reuters.
He said such an interim agreement should fix an interim price for a specified volume of gas to be shipped to Ukraine.
Ukraine was paying about $500 per 1000 cubic metres – the highest in Europe – until June when Gazprom cut gas supplies to the former Soviet republic.
Naftogaz has filed a lawsuit at the international arbitration court in Stockholm to establish a “fair and market price” for natural gas supplies from Gazprom.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said Kiev would support the EC’s proposal.
“We have to determine an interim price which must be market price and we are ready to work with this price until the Stockholm arbitration court adopts the final decision,” he said.
The Ukraine government is willing to pay a compromise price of $326 per 1000 cubic metres of Russian gas for an 18-month period to allow time to end the pricing dispute but has criticised Gazprom for being unwilling to negotiate.
Meanwhile, Russian gas deliveries to Slovakia’s importer SPP were reported to be about 20% below requested volumes on Tuesday, after Poland, Austria and Romania have seen reduced supplies in recent weeks.