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Gazprom will continue on Monday talks on the settlement of Ukraine's $1.3-billion natural gas debt
Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] will continue on Monday talks on the settlement of Ukraine's $1.3-billion natural gas debt, as well as on the issue of further supplies, the Russian energy giant said. A working meeting between Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko is scheduled at the company's head office in Moscow, Gazprom said in a news release. Miller and Boiko met last Wednesday for talks on Ukraine's debt for Russian gas supplied this year, after the gas monopoly warned it would have to cut exports if the country failed to repay the sum in October. Gazprom also notified European consumers about the situation. During a bitter price row between the former Soviet allies in late 2005-early 2005, Moscow briefly cut off exports to Ukraine, which affected consumers in Western Europe, with Russia accusing Kiev of tapping Russian gas in transit via its territory. Last Thursday, the Russian monopoly and Ukrainian officials explained that the debt in question was owed by Ukrainian consumers, not the state. Gazprom said that following Wednesday's meeting "an agreement was reached that Ukraine's current government will take the problem under its control and ensure payment of the debt before November 1." Boiko confirmed the deadline on Friday in a telephone conversation with the European Commission member responsible for energy issues, Andris Piebalgs, adding that gas supplies to Europe would not be affected. Moscow plans to further raise gas prices for Ukraine in 2008 from the current $130 to $143-$180 per 1,000 cubic meters.
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