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Monday, October 15, 2007

EU gas group to meet in Brussels on October 25

BRUSSELS, October 12 (RIA Novosti) - The EU Gas Coordination Group will consider gas disputes between Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukraine at a session in Brussels on October 25, a European Commission spokesman said on Friday. Deputy energy ministers from Russia and Ukraine, as well as Gazprom and Ukrainian gas officials have been invited to discuss the potential consequences of Gazprom's recent gas dispute with Ukraine for consumers in Europe. On October 2, Gazprom threatened to cut gas supplies to Ukraine if the country failed to pay off its $1.3 billion debt in October. The company and Kiev have since moved to allay Europe's concerns over Russian gas supplies via Ukraine, which were affected in early 2006 during a bitter price dispute between the former Soviet allies. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko signed a debt settlement agreement earlier this week. Ukraine currently pays $130 per 1,000 cubic meters for gas pumped from and via Russia. In 2008, the price is expected to appreciate further to $143-$180. The European Commission called the dispute a bilateral commercial conflict and convened an emergency session of the Gas Coordination Group to clarify it. The Group was established to facilitate coordination of security of natural gas supplies in the event of a major supply disruption.

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