Ukraine to Start Buying Gas from Russia Again This Year

Ukraine will purchase gas from Russia this year after a two-year hiatus, while continuing gas supply from European countries, the CEO of the state-owned Naftogaz company Andriy Kobolev said at a press conference Wednesday.

“We plan to import gas from two directions. The price which Gazprom is now obliged to set is very attractive. We should take advantage of this economic benefit,” Kobolev said, according to Reuters.

He explained that Naftogaz will buy 4-5 billion cubic meters of gas from the Russian Gazprom starting from 2018.

Ukraine stopped buying gas from Russia in 2015, as a result of a ruling by a Swedish arbitration court on its gas dispute with Moscow.

“From this year we are obliged to take a minimum volume. Gazprom must sell us gas at a price lower than the European one and we see that as positive,” he said.

He did not say when exactly Naftogaz would start buying supplies from Russia or what the exact volumes would be.

During the past 13 years, a number of disputes occurred between Ukrainian oil and gas company Naftogaz and Russian gas supplier Gazprom over natural gas supplies, prices, and debts. These disputes have grown beyond simple business disputes into transnational political issues—involving political leaders from several countries—that threaten natural gas supplies in numerous European countries dependent on natural gas imports from Russian suppliers, which are transported through Ukraine.

Russia provides approximately a quarter of the natural gas consumed in the European Union; approximately 80% of those exports travel through pipelines across Ukrainian soil prior to arriving in the EU.

Ukraine imported 14 billion cubic meters of gas from the EU last year, comparable to Belgium’s annual consumption.