​Ukraine seeks $16bn from Gazprom in arbitration court

Reuters / Alexander Demianchuk
Ukraine is seeking more than $16 billion from Russia's Gazprom in an appeal to a Stockholm arbitration court, Ukrainian PM Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Friday. Kiev is challenging the price of Russian gas and billions in debt which Moscow says it accrued.

Gazprom and Ukrainian state gas firm Naftogaz are locked into a 10-year gas agreement signed in 2009. However, Kiev believes the terms are unacceptable, and has demanded that Moscow lower its prices.

“The transit contract is not fair for Ukraine and more than $10 billion should be paid to Naftogaz from Gazprom to compensate for losses. In this way, the overall sum we are seeking from Gazprom in terms of the gas supply contract and the transit contract is already over $16 million,” Yatsenyuk said in a post on Facebook.

In response, Gazprom representative Sergey Kupriyanov said Ukraine's claims are still less than the amount that Kiev owes Gazprom, RIA Novosti reported.

READ MORE: Gazprom confirms $40mn gas prepayment from Ukraine

According to Gazprom, Ukraine owes over $170 million for gas supplied to eastern Ukraine since the beginning of the year. As of January, the total debt since the beginning of the dispute totaled US$2.4 billion.

Seeking a definitive ruling, Ukraine has brought the case to a Stockholm arbitration court.

In April, Kiev signed a “summer package” interim deal for cheaper gas supplies from Russia for the next three months, though the battle for a long-term solution still continues. The new deal requires prepayment.

The deal was a continuation of the “winter package,” which was agreed upon in October 2014 and guaranteed Russian gas deliveries at a discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Meanwhile, Gazprom chief Alexey Miller told RIA Novosti on Friday that Ukraine's demand has“increased two-fold.”

READ MORE: EU charges Gazprom with 'abusing' market position in Central & Eastern Europe

The energy giant delivered 261 million cubic meters of gas to Ukraine between April 1-27, with the country using approximately 9.6 million cubic meters of gas daily, Ukraine's gas transmission and storage company Ukrtransgaz said, as reported by Sputnik news agency.

A separate Gazprom source said that Ukraine's daily demand for gas will now increase to 20 million cubic meters.

Russia stopped supplying gas to Ukraine for almost six months in 2014. In June of that year, Gazprom switched Naftogaz over to a prepayment system because of its debts.

In return, Naftogaz initiated a claim in the Stockholm arbitration court, claiming billions in excess had been paid to Gazprom over the years.

The Russian energy giant answered with a lawsuit against Naftogaz through the same court, demanding recovery of debt exceeding $5 billion. The first hearing took place in early April.

The debt initiated a six-month interruption in Russian gas supplies to Ukraine in 2014, prompting the brokering of the “winter package.”