EU wants Ukraine to remain key transit country for Russian gas

Gas pipes are pictured at a high-mountain gas compressor station near the village of Volovets, western Ukraine © Gleb Garanich
Ukraine should remain an important transit country for gas supplies from Russia to Europe, said Maros Sefcovic, the European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union.

He is in Kiev to take part in the Ukrainian Energy Forum. He said Moscow, Kiev and the European Commission should hold a meeting soon.

The contract for Russian gas transit through Ukraine to Europe was signed by Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz in 2009 and expires at the end of 2019.

Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak earlier said that Russia had no plans to abandon gas transit through Ukraine, but isn’t going to extend the contract on unfavorable conditions. The announcement came as Naftogaz radically increased transit fees for Gazprom.

The two gas companies have gone to court over the contracts for gas supplies and transit since they couldn’t reach a compromise.

In January, the anti-monopoly committee of Ukraine fined Russia’s Gazprom $3.4 billion for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the Ukrainian gas transit market.

This followed a bill for $2.5 billion from Gazprom to Ukraine’s state gas company Naftogaz for failing to buy the contracted 10,485 billion cubic meters of gas in the third quarter of 2015.

READ MORE: Gazprom bills Ukraine's Naftogaz $2.5bn for gas not bought

In recent months Ukraine significantly reduced gas imports from Russia in an effort to reduce its energy reliance on Moscow. To cover its needs, the country bought supplies of Russian gas from Slovakia.