Ukraine Demands Payment for the Gas that was Not Given to Export

MOSCOW, Russia -- Yesterday, the acting head of Central Energy Customs of Ukraine (CEC) Viktor Vecher accused Gasprom of not paying for storage of 7.8 billion cubic meters of gas that was pumped into the Ukrainian underground storage facilities more than a year ago. Gasprom responded that the contract with Naftogaz of Ukraine, which supervises the storage facility, requires to pay the stored gas only at the moment of withdrawal. President of Ukraine Viktor Yushenko tried to calm down high-running passions and demanded from the government “to be more responsible to the organization and conduct of state gas policy.”

Yesterday morning, on the press conference, Taras Shepit’ko, the main inspector of custom controllers of CEC made a statement that Gasprom did not pay to Naftogaz for the storage of 7.8 billion cubic meters of its gas. Viktor Vecher confirmed this information. “We checked the underground storage facility only July 6 and verified the presence of 7.8 billion cubic meters of gas belonging to Gasprom,” he said. “The problem is that Gasprom did not pay for storage despite the fact that gas was kept in the facilities for storage only. Let Gasprom pay for it and take it out.”

Until this time, Ukrainian officials and representatives of Naftogaz agreed with the fact that Ukraine is the debtor because it did not put Russian gas for export. However, yesterday, Dmitry Marunich, deputy head of Naftogaz press service, when Kommersant asked him to make a comment about Vecher’s statement, said, “Read it. There is everything in there.”

Gasprom made the next statement after these events: “We do not have to react on the statements of people who have nothing to do with the agreement between Gasprom and Naftogaz which states we are paying for the storage upon withdrawal.”

Practically right after the statement from CEC, the press service of the Ukrainian president published Yushenko’s letter to the Ukrainian government. “The activities of Naftogaz of Ukraine cannot be a subject for political speculation but rather a strategic state interest. The emotional, not-well-thought-out public actions of the people, including those who have nothing to do with the company business, bring a lot of damage to the national market. The situation that appeared around Naftogaz of Ukraine activities makes the government approach more responsibly and delicately conduct state gas policy,” the letter said.

Whether the cabinet of ministers of Ukraine will listen to the words of the president will be clear Saturday—there is a session that is scheduled for this day which will examine the results of Naftogaz activities (Earlier it was thought that Alexei Ivchenko, head of the company, would give a report on Wednesday). Let’s note that yesterday evening, the press service of Naftogaz made public comments which contained words of Ivchenko: We have perfect personal relationship with the head of Gasprom Alexei Miller. But we have a probably on a political level.”

Source: Kommersant