Gazprom, Ukraine discuss gas transit tariffs higher than current

TASS Russian News Agency | Dec 4, 2019 at 2:53 PM

SOCHI, December 4. /TASS/. Gazprom is discussing gas transit tariffs with Ukraine, which are much higher than the current ones, CE of the Russian gas holding Alexey Miller told reporters on Wednesday.

"We are in constant contact with the company, which should become an independent gas transportation operator. Our consultations are held in Vienna. We are discussing an inter-operator agreement and a transport agreement. There are many questions, including those related to the tariff matrix. These are very, very high tariffs, significantly higher than the current, at which we are now transporting gas through the territory of Ukraine," he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said earlier on Wednesday that Russia is ready to maintain gas transit through Ukraine, although the Ukrainian side at the moment proposes conditions unacceptable for Russia.

"I constantly repeat that we are ready to preserve Ukrainian transit, we are currently negotiating about this in Vienna, this is no secret. However, possible conditions that Ukrainian transit companies offer are not economically acceptable for us so far," he said.

At the same time, Putin said he hopes that the conditions will change during the negotiations. "I hope that this is a bargaining position and it will be possible to somehow coordinate the positions," he said.

Talks between Russia and Ukraine were held in Vienna last week. On Friday, representatives of Gazprom and the operator of Ukraine's gas transmission system discussed technical issues related to the conditions for the transit of Russian gas to Europe since 2020. It was agreed to continue working together this week.

Russia's Minister of Energy Alexander Novak said earlier that Russia and Ukraine may hold talks to resolve gas issues on December 5, if Gazprom and Naftogaz are ready.

The contract for the supply and transit of gas through Ukraine between Gazprom and Naftogaz ends on December 31, 2019. Russia, Ukraine, and the European Commission continue to hold consultations on the transit of Russian gas to the EU through Ukrainian territory since 2020, although the dialogue is complicated by litigations between Gazprom and Naftogaz.

Moscow offers a "package solution" that includes a settlement agreement on litigation and direct gas purchases at reduced rates. As a fallback, Russia is ready to extend the current transit agreement for 2020.

However, Ukraine considers rejection of litigation and signing of a short-term contract unacceptable. At the same time, in November, Executive Director of Naftogaz Yury Vitrenko announced that Ukraine would pump transit gas from Russia to its underground storage facilities if it would enter the country without an appropriate contract starting January 1, 2020.