Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said that Ukraine had asked for 1 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia this month, which is three times more than what it received last month. Last week, Ukraine’s and Russia’s state-run giants, Naftogaz and Gazprom, finalized an interim agreement for less expensive gas supplies from Russia for the next three months, which slightly eased a protracted dispute over pricing.
Kiev will now be getting about 33 million cubic meters of gas per day, while in March it was about 10 million a day, Mr Novak confirmed for the Russian media. He added that Ukraine will have to buy 11-12 billion cubic meters this summer to fill up its reserves again and thus prepare for the winter. Kiev’s current price will be $248 per 1,000 cubic meters by June.
The Russian minister also confirmed that the new deal includes the so-called “take-or-pay” clause meaning that Ukraine has to import specific volumes of gas. “(The clause) is included in the current contract, it’s always been (part of it) and it will remain until the end of the contract,” Mr Novak said and added that the only difference now is that Gazprom will not penalize Ukraine if it imports less than agreed. “But that does not mean it is a gift – these funds will accrue, they simply will not be levied. But they will be taken into account in the proceedings before the Stockholm arbitration court. And Gazprom will bring them up,” the Russian energy minister stressed.
Mr Novak moreover said that Ukraine’s imports of gas via “reverse-flow” to replace Russian supplies are legally unclear, they do raise concerns, and may prompt Gazprom to initiate legal action. “This issue, in our opinion, is not that crystal clear and lawyers are studying it,” he said and added that “it is possible that in case of individual contracts there will be some claims, legal claims raised.” Reverse flows from Slovakia are the only exception.