Ukraine Could Save $3bln A Year From New Gas Deal With Russia - Media

MOSCOW, Russia -- Ukraine could save over $3 billion annually from a new gas deal agreed between the two ex-Soviet republics, a business paper reported on Monday.

Russia has agreed on lower natural gas prices for Ukraine following a proposal from Ukraine's new leader Viktor Yanukovych. The details of the agreement have not been disclosed, Vedomosti reported.

Yanukovych, who was inaugurated in February, vowed during his campaign to improve relations with Russia and renegotiate the January 2009 deal on gas supplies, which increased the price Ukraine paid for Russian gas, straining the country's troubled finances.

Ukraine requested Russia to lower the gas price to $250 or at least $260 per 1,000 cu m. The ex-Soviet republic currently purchases Russian natural gas at the average annual price of $337 per 1,000 cu m.

The gas price equaled $305 per 1,000 cu m, in the first quarter and increased to $330 per 1,000 cu m in the second quarter, Vedomosti said, referring to ITAR-TASS news agency.

Naftogaz of Ukraine, the country's national energy company, which sells Russia natural gas to Ukrainian consumers, agreed to increase gas purchases in Russia from 27 to 36.5 billion cu m in 2010 to lower gas prices.

If the gas price remains at $250 per 1,000 cu m, Ukraine will be able to save more than $3 billion, the paper said.

Source: RIA Novosti