Ukraine may start to make pre-payments for deliveries of Russian natural gas before December 1, Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Prodan told reporters in Kiev on Tuesday.
"Our plans concerning gas purchases remain unchanged: we plan to buy up to 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas before the end of the year. These purchases will begin with the onset of cold weather. We may start them before December 1. The situation is not critical at the moment," the minister said.
Prodan, however, declined to disclose the size of these pre-payments.
The agreement between Naftogaz of Ukraine and Russian gas giant Gazprom allows Kiev to purchase as much natural gas as it needs depending on the current situation, the minister added.
Prodan said late last week that Naftogaz of Ukraine planned to purchase up to 1.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Gazprom before the end of the year, and another one billion cubic meters in the first quarter of 2015.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said earlier that Ukraine may need five billion cubic meters of gas for the upcoming heating season. However, it was said at one of the final rounds of Ukraine-Russia-EU talks that Ukraine may buy up to four billion cubic meters of gas before the end of 2014.
Under the Brussels agreements, Ukraine will pay $378 per 1,000 cubic meters of Russian natural gas until the end of 2014, and $368 per 1,000 cubic meters in January-March 2015.
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