Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Piebalgs steps in over gas row
9 December 2008 - Upstream OnLine - Europe's energy chief Andris Piebalgs today called on Russia and Ukraine to resolve a long-simmering row over gas payments. A Soviet-era pipeline network carries 25% of Europe's gas from Russia across Ukraine, and the European Union is concerned that the dispute between the two countries could see supplies cut as they were in January 2006. Russian gas giant Gazprom has claimed Ukraine owes it $2.4 billion for gas supplied from September to November, as well as interest for late payment. Ukraine has denied this, saying it it owes $2 billion. Today an EU spokesman said Piebalgs, the European Energy Commissioner, is very concerned about the current dispute. "The Commissioner calls on both parties to reach a definitive agreement that solves their bilateral problems once and for all as soon as possible," he told Reuters, adding the Commission was not worried about current supplies to Europe. "Mr Piebalgs has intensified contacts with Russian and Ukrainian authorities...Commission officials are going to meet representatives of Gazprom...EU delegations in Moscow and Kiev are also in intense negotiations," he added.