Brussels, January 23 - Neftegaz.RU. Ukraine and Russia met on January 21 with European Union officials to hash out an ongoing dispute about transporting gas to the EU. Several EU member states are reliant on gas supplies from Russia, much of which is routed through Ukraine under a 10-year contract that is due to expire at the end of 2019.
Kiev fears losing revenue once the contract ends, amid political tensions with Moscow as well as Russian plans to build a new gas pipeline to Europe, circumventing Ukraine. In 2017, the Ukrainian Naftogaz made nearly $1.27 billion in profit from the transit of almost 94 billion m3 of gas to Western Europe. The transit earnings are the source of up to 3 % of Ukrainian gross domestic product.
The North Stream 2 pipeline, once completed, would connect Russia to Germany across the Baltic Sea. Ukraine fears that the project, under Gazprom, would cut it off from gas transit revenue in the long run.
«Gazprom is delaying real talks in terms of transit in order to build Nord Stream 2 and then to have a different negotiating position,» Naftogaz Deputy Chief Executive Yuriy Vitrenko told Reuters before the talks. «Then they will say, 'We are OK without any Ukrainian transits at all'.»
Monday's meeting brought together the top EU energy official, Maros Sefcovic, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin, Naftogaz chief Andrey Kobolyev, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev.
«We need a strong commitment by the two sides to advance in the talks,» Sefcovic said. As Monday negotiations yielded no concrete results Novak said Russia and Ukraine will meet for further gas talks in May.
To read the full story in Russian.