Russia, Ukraine Wrap up Gas Talks in Vienna

Russia and Ukraine have completed gas talks in Vienna on Thursday, agreeing to intensify bilateral work on the issue in coming days, the Russian Energy Ministry said in a statement, according to TASS.

“The parties discussed Russian-Ukrainian cooperation in the gas sector, the settlement of mutual claims over the execution of contracts, the conditions for the transit of Russian gas to Europe from 2020, as well as the prospects for direct purchase of Russian gas by Ukrainian consumers,” the statement says.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and his Ukrainian counterpart, Oleksiy Orzhel, as well as the CEOs of Russia’s Gazprom, Naftogaz and Ukraine’s gas transportation system operator, participated in the talks, the ministry added.

The current 10-year gas transit agreement between Gazprom and Naftogaz expires at the end of 2019, and the European Commission is brokering talks aimed at putting in place a new contract to take effect from the start of 2020.

Last week, Gazprom offered inking a year-long deal with Naftogaz or extending the existing pact, which expires in January. Ukrainian officials called both proposals unacceptable, insisting on a long-term gas transit deal with Russia.

Meanwhile, Naftogaz said on Wednesday a Swedish court had rejected an appeal by Gazprom against a decision in one of several long-running legal disputes over gas contracts.

Naftogaz had secured a favorable decision in December 2017 on its demands that the price of Russian gas to Ukrainian consumers be reduced and the take-or-pay requirement be canceled.