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4 Aug, 2008 05:46

Ukraine admits stealing European gas

Ukraine’s government has officially acknowledged it illegally appropriated 1.3 BLN cubic metres of gas supposed to be exported from Turkmenistan via Russia to Europe in 2008.

Within the next few days the fuel material will be fully returned to RosUkrEnergo, Gazprom’s agent in Ukraine responsible for transporting gas through the country’s territory. 

The gas was heading from Turkmenistan, where the purchase price is lower then in Russia. However, it would hardly be a good consolation for the Ukrainian side as the debt amounts to $US 233 MLN.  

The Kommersant-Ukraine newspaper writes the move is an echo of the recent Naftagas Ukraine CEO, Oleg Dubina, visit to Moscow as the Gazprom top managers refused to meet with him. A Gazprom representative passed Dubina wishes of good return journey from the company’s CEO, Aleksey Miller. The man also hinted that Gazprom won’t sign any long-term deal on gas supplies to Ukraine until Naftagas pays off the full debt. 

At the start of 2006 Russia and Ukraine reached agreement on supplying gas through RosUkrEnergo. The company also profited by re-exporting it to European countries at higher prices. For the last few months Gasprom and Naftagas have been ventilating the issue of a long-term deal, which is expected to reduce purchase price for Ukraine.