EU Wants To Assist In Ukraine-Russia Gas Transit Negotiations

BERLIN, Germany -- "The EU is willing, if Ukraine and Russia so wish, to enter into tripartite consultations on gas transit at any time," said the European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger during his conversation with the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine Yuriy Boykoon January 13, 2012, according to the Press Statement by Energy Commissioner Oettinger.

European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger.

The officials talked over the ongoing discussions between Ukraine and Russia on the question of gas pricing and transit.

During this morning's telephone conversation Commissioner Oettingernoted that any new Ukraine's agreements with Russia on natural gas must guarantee the full respect of the legal commitments Ukraine had as a member of the Energy Community.

He emphasized the importance of the correlation between Ukraine's existing obligations and future contracts both for the energy security and independence of Ukraine.

Moreover, the energy chapters of the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine(including its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area component) were based on Ukraine's engagements that ensue from joining the Energy Community treaty 2011.

Founded in 2006, the Community regulates energy relations between the EU and a number of neighboring countries in order to establish a common regulatory framework for member energy markets through extending EU standards across their territories.

Günther Oettinger went on to reassure the European Commission "stands ready to continue both its active support to the Ukrainian energy sector reforms and to the upgrading of the gas transit infrastructure in Ukraine".

The Commission wants to ensure that Ukraine remains a key part of the pan-European energy network, he said.

Minister Boyko and Commissioner Oettinger agreed to work on a common strategy to further Ukrainian energy market integration into the EU.

Currently, Ukraine aims to renegotiate existing gas contract with Russia since the established price puts a notable strain on Ukrainian economy.

In September 2011, the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych claimed Ukraine overpaid USD $5-$6 billion per year for Russian gas due to the terms of existing contract.

As of January 12, 2012, Ukraine pays USD $416 per thousand cubic meters of Russian gas, according to the Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov.

Source: Worldwide News Ukraine