Ukraine plans to buy 20 bcm of Russian gas a year at most - Ukrainian Prime Minister

Ukraine is plans to be buying a maximum of 18-20 billion cubic meters (bcm) of Russian gas on an annual basis, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said in an address to the Ukrainian-Norwegian business forum in Oslo on Friday.

"We have set the task for the years to come of buying a maximum of 18-20 billion cubic meters of gas," Azarov said.

The country's gas needs will also be met with gas Ukraine produces itself, and steps will be taken to cut gas consumption, the prime minister said.

Ukraine has to reduce purchases of Russian natural gas under price pressure and plans to buy 18 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia in 2013, President Viktor Yanukovych said at a meeting with Interfax Group Chairman and CEO Mikhail Komissar and Interfax-Ukraine General Director Oleksandr Martynenko on Nov. 23. Ukraine intends to acquire 18 bcm in 2013 compared with 26 bcm in 2012, he said.

Ukraine is not satisfied with the price of the gas bought from Russia under the contract of 2009. Russia thinks that Ukraine reducing purchases by that much contradicts the existing contract, and is not ruling out taking the matter to court.

In the first quarter of this year, national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy bought Russian gas at around $416 per thousand cubic meters, in Q2 - around $425, in Q3 - around $426, and in Q4 - around $430.

According to State Statistics Service data, Ukrainian imports of Russian gas amounted to 40.002 bcm for $12.361 billion in 2011.

Ukraine's gas imports in January-October this year were down 28.2 percent year-on-year at 27.750 bcm. October imports were up 3.1 percent at 3.170 bcm

The 2012 gas balance states that Naftogaz will import 27 billion cubic meters and Ostchem Holding Limited (Cyprus), a company controlled by businessman Dmytro Firtash, 8.124 billion cubic meters of gas this year.

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