Naftogaz Ukrainy is asking the European Commission to allow a major reversal of gas flow from Slovakia in light of Russia's decision to halt gas supplies.
"Naftogaz is now making its request to the European Commission regarding a major gas reverse flow from Slovakia," the Ukrainian company's chief executive, Andrei Kobolev, told reporters.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said the agreement on reverse supplies had already been signed and that a government delegation was due to travel to make the request for major reverse supplies.
"We currently have a lower reverse price than for Russian gas. Russia's plan was absolutely clear: to say that temporarily the price had risen from 268 [dollars per thousand cubic meters of gas] to almost 500, and then to temporarily set a price of 385 dollars. Then, in November-December time, the Russian government would have said it had changed its mind [about $385]," Yatseniuk said.
He said Russia had prepared this plan and played for time. "We held transparent, public talks and will continue to pursue our policy in the same format that we have for the last three months: honestly, openly and transparently, and on market terms," he said.
Eustream, Slovakia's gas transmission system operator, has extended until July 4 the Open Season procedure in line with which it accepts market bids for transmission capacities to Uzhgorod, Ukraine, via Vojany pipeline. The deadline was initially June 23. Registered participants may submit their requests for transmission capacity and, after bids have been evaluated, the respective transmission contracts will be signed between Eustream and network users or shippers.
An agreement on the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline was signed in Bratislava on April 28, 2014.
Ukraine expected to launch reverse purchases of gas from the European Union via Slovakia as of September 1, 2014.
Initially, the gas would be supplied in reverse mode along the disused Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline as this would not require clearance from Russia's Gazprom.
Gas would be pumped at a rate of 3.2 bcm per year at first, rising to 10 bcm by the end of 2014 or early 2015.
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