Russia’s gas producer Gazprom offers a lower price for natural gas supplies to Ukraine than European countries, Chief Executive Officer of Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy Andrey Kobolev said.
“The price Gazprom is offering ($167.57 per 1 thousand cubic meters) is slightly lower than that of European suppliers”, he said, adding that the gas price on the European market is “rather volatile” and may go down.
The Ukrainian company expects Gazprom to sign the amendment to gas sale-and-purchase contract from 2009, which stipulates resumption of Russian gas imports in the third quarter of this year.
“Unfortunetaly, Gazprom has not signed the amendment to the contract, which will allow gas purchases in the third quarter. We’re in talks, though it’s difficult to say how they will turn out”, he said.
According to Kobolev, European capacities are sufficient for pumping gas to Ukraine’s underground gas storage facilities for the new heating season.
“We’re planning to reach the level of 14.5 billion cubic meters”, he said when asked what volume of fuel the country plans to get in store before the heating seasons starts.
Naftogaz plans to seriously increase its natural gas imports in July.
“We intend to launch (imports) this month”, he said, adding that the plan is to import more than 3 billion cubic meters of gas.
According to Kobolev, Naftogaz will purchase gas using its own currency resources and loans raised, including that from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
“We have currency reserves on our accounts”, he said.
The company’s Director of Business Development Yuri Vitrenko said Naftogaz had a revolving line of credit from EBRD worth $300 million and the sides were in talks on potential increase of the loan. Also, the company is considering other sources of borrowings, for example the World Bank (WB).
Kobolev said the World Bank was offering more flexible finance terms and enabled the borrower to independently choose the gas supplier.
Earlier Naftogaz planned to raise $500 million from the bank for gas imports. (Naftogaz-Europe/Business World Magazine)