Ukraine President: Russian Oil Conflict Can Be Settled - Tass

KIEV, Ukraine -- Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said Monday it will be possible settle his country's differences with Russia over oil pricing, Itar- Tass reports, citing UNIAN news agency.

According to earlier reports, Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko has charged that Russian oil major Lukoil (LKOH) and Russian-British oil major TNK- BP haven't met their obligations to keep oil product prices stable until June 1.

Since the beginning of the year, oil product prices have increased by 10% to 15%, Timoshenko was reported saying. But oil companies operating in Ukraine increased prices even further through "cartel agreements," she said. Russian companies control about 90% of Ukraine's oil product market, she said.

But Yushchenko, said "I am convinced the Ukrainian team acted not in the best way," and Ukraine would promise to more predictable and clearer on such delicate matters as pricing, Yushchenko said, according to Itar-Tass.

It said the Ukrainian president said that prior to his visits to Lithuania and Poland he talked with Russian oil suppliers, and it was agreed he would be informed of the Russian side's view of the situation that would help settle the conflict. He said that on Thursday, May 19, he would convene a conference of all the sides involved in the situation. Yushchenko said he would invite Russian businessmen who supply crude oil and oil products and also chiefs of oil refineries.

"We should begin the talk from scratch. I believe both sides have by now made some steps that harmed each other's reputation and the principles of a sound market," Itar-Tass reported Yushchenko saying.

Source: Dow Jones