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Архіви Форумів Майдану

Западная *серьёзная* аналитика по газу

01/04/2006 | Михайло Барашков
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Начнём с Блумберга


Russia, Ukraine Settle Gas Dispute, to Raise Prices (Update6)

Jan. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine agreed to almost double the price it pays Russia for gas, settling a dispute that cut shipments to Europe and damaged Russian President Vladimir Putin's reputation as a reliable energy supplier.

The former Soviet republic will pay an average $95 per 1,000 cubic meters for the fuel for five years, up from $50 under a previous arrangement, OAO Gazprom, Russia's state-owned natural-gas monopoly, said in Moscow today.

``It's a big shock to Russia's reputation,'' said Jochen Wermuth, managing director of Wermuth Asset Management in Frankfurt and an adviser to the $250 million Greater Europe Fund. ``The Soviet Union supplied gas through the Afghan war, the boycott of the Olympics, the putsch against Gorbachev, the breakup of the Soviet Union. It's a big mistake for Russia in the long run.''

Putin and Gazprom backed down from an earlier plan to quadruple gas charges to Ukraine in line with prices of about $250 per 1,000 cubic meters charged to Western European customers. Today's agreement will cost Ukraine about $1.5 billion extra a year, said Paul McNamara, who helps invest about $800 million in emerging-market debt at Julius Baer Investment Management in London.

U.K. gas for delivery in February at the National Balancing Point fell 2.9 pence, or 3.3 percent, to 83.5 pence a therm at 11:13 a.m. in London according to ICE Futures exchange. That equals about $14.57 per million British thermal units. A therm is 100,000 British thermal units.


Gas deliveries to Europe were disrupted on Jan. 1-2 when Russia stopped supplying the fuel to Ukraine and Moldova, the main corridors for exports to Europe. Shipments returned to normal yesterday following complaints from officials including Javier Solana, the European Union foreign policy chief. Russia is the source of a quarter of Europe's gas.

Today's ``agreements provide an additional guarantee for the security of European gas exports and serves as a good base for developing cooperation between Russia and Ukraine in the gas sphere on market terms,'' Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexei Miller told reporters in Moscow.

The dispute was the culmination of a rift between Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko, who is seeking closer ties with Europe. Putin and Gazprom have been demanding an end to preferential gas prices for Ukraine and other countries that once were part of the Soviet Union.

Turkmen Gas

Ukraine imports about 80 percent of its gas needs. The country agreed last month to buy 40 billion cubic meters of Turkmen gas this year, paying $50 per 1,000 cubic meters, according to NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy, Ukraine's state-owned gas company. Ukraine will now pay about $95 per 1,000 cubic meters for all gas delivered either from Russia or central Asia following the agreement with Gazprom, according to Oleksiy Ivchenko, chief executive officer at Naftogaz.

The agreement ``provides us a possibility to ensure supplies of gas to Ukraine in full,'' Ivchenko told reporters in Moscow during a joint press-conference with Miller today.

Russia cut supplies to Ukraine on Jan. 1, accusing the country of siphoning off fuel. Ukraine took 223.5 million cubic meters of gas on Jan. 1-2 that Gazprom was due to deliver to Europe, Sergei Kupriyanov, a spokesman at Gazprom, said yesterday.

Ukraine denied it was siphoning off any gas from Russia. The gas it is accused of stealing is from Turkmenistan and being shipped from central Asia across Russia, according to Sergei Lukyanchuk, a spokesman at Naftogaz in Kiev, Ukraine.

`Isn't Stealing'

``Ukraine got Turkmen gas on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2, and we will get more,'' he said yesterday. ``Ukraine isn't stealing Russian gas.''

Under today's agreement, Gazprom will sell gas to a joint venture it has with Austria's Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG for $230 per 1,000 cubic meters, the gas company said. The Switzerland-based venture, RosUkrEnergo AG, will in turn sell the fuel to Ukraine for an average $95 per 1,000 cubic meters, Gazprom said.

RosUkrEnergo will supply about 17 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Ukraine this year, according to Gazprom.

RosUkrEnergo will also supply gas to Ukraine from central Asian states, including Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, according to Gazprom. The joint venture will become the ``exclusive distributor'' for gas imports to Ukraine, Kupriyanov said today in Moscow.

Higher Tariff

Gazprom agreed to pay a higher fee for pumping its gas through pipelines across Ukraine, Miller said today. The tariff will rise to $1.6 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas shipped for 100 kilometers, up from the last year's charge of $1.09.

``The transit fees will be paid in cash now,'' Miller said. Gazprom earlier paid for the Ukrainian transit services with gas supplies.

Ukraine may recoup $500 million of $1.5 billion extra gas costs after raising charges for transporting Russian gas to Europe, according to Julius Baer's McNamara.

``The dispute is over,'' said Jonathan Stern, author of The Future of Russian Gas and Gazprom, published last year by the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies in Oxford, England. ``Gazprom has achieved a big increase.''

Crude oil rose yesterday on speculation demand will gain in Europe as users seek alternative fuels. Enel SpA, Italy's largest utility, said yesterday it's ready to switch to low- sulfur fuel oil to avoid disruptions.

Gas companies in Poland, Hungary, Austria, Germany, Italy and France said yesterday that their deliveries across Ukrainian pipes had been restored.

Past Cuts

The dispute echoes a standoff in February 2004, when Gazprom interrupted supplies to Poland and Germany by cutting shipments to Belarus for a day. About 15 percent of the gas Gazprom sells Europe goes through Belarus pipelines.

Gazprom wanted to raise Belarus's prices by about 50 percent. Belarus agreed to the increase and Gazprom resumed deliveries. On Dec. 27, Gazprom agreed to extend last year's tariff for Belarus to this year.

Gas has caused friction between Russia and Ukraine since soon after the Soviet Union collapsed. During the 1995-2005 Ukrainian presidency of Leonid Kuchma, Gazprom accused Ukraine of siphoning gas shipped through its territory and threatened reprisals.

The one-year-old Ukrainian government under Yushchenko, born during the November 2004 ``Orange Revolution'' that forced the re-run of a presidential election, is seeking better ties with the West, including membership in the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.


The latest dispute comes as campaigning begins for Ukraine's next election for parliament, in March. The vote coincides with constitutional changes that will for the first time give parliament, or Verkhovna Rada, the power to name and dismiss the prime minister, a right hitherto reserved for the president.

Putin openly backed Yushchenko's rival for the presidency, then-Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, in the 2004 election. Yanukovych wanted closer ties with Russia and proposed allowing Ukrainians to hold dual Russian and Ukrainian citizenship.

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