Ukraine is planning to increase natural gas imports to 30-33 billion cubic meters (bcm) next year, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavytsky said during a Wednesday briefing in Kyiv.
"According to our balance, Ukraine will have to have from 30 to 33 billion cubic meters of gas next year," Stavytsky said. He declined to provide a direct answer when asked if the annual gas purchase requirements had been struck from the contract, saying only, "This issue is resolved." Gas transit was not discussed during the negotiations, Stavytsky said. As a consequence, the plan is to also discuss the question of setting up a gas-transport consortium, he said. Ukraine imported 32.9 bcm of gas in 2012. The government has confirmed a balance of natural gas receipt and distribution for this year that has imports at 27.3 bcm. According to the country's Energy and Coal Industry Ministry, January-October gas imports amounted to 23.35 bcm. In addition, national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy bought 1.89 bcm last month. Thanks to signed amendments to the gas contract with Russia, Ukraine will be able to save seven billion dollars a year, Stavytsky said earlier today. "For the economy and budget of Ukraine, this will be seven billion dollars in savings," Stavytsky said. The gas agreements, he said, are the result of negotiations, not a capitulation of national interests. As reported, on December 17, Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy signed an addendum to the contract concerning the purchase of Russian gas, its delivery, amount, and transit terms of January 19, 2009. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the document allows Gazprom to sell gas to Ukraine at a price of $268.50 per 1,000 cubic meters, where it currently stands at about $400. That price will be effective starting in January, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yuriy Boiko has said.