MOSCOW, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - The European Commission believes that Naftogaz' idea for European companies to purchase Russian gas on the border between Russia and Ukraine would require a review of contracts and is ready to discuss the suggestion with the two countries in the fall, European Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said in a statement.
"Naftogaz' idea that European gas companies could buy Russian gas at the Russian-Ukrainian border instead of getting it delivered through Ukraine requires a renegotiation of the transit contracts. As this cannot be done in the short term, it is a question that would need to be discussed in a trilateral meeting between the European Commission, the Russian Federation and Ukraine. We are working for such a meeting taking place in early autumn. At the moment, gas transit to the EU is unaffected," Oettinger's statement said.
In regard to a law currently being discussed in Ukraine on possibly imposing sanctions on Russian transit gas, Oettinger said the flow of Russian gas to the European Union has far been uninterrupted, and that he believes Ukraine will remain a reliable partner.
"We have raised the issue of the draft law again this morning in a phone call with our Ukraine partners. We are confident that Ukraine remains a reliable transit partner," the energy commissioner’s statement read.
On Monday, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko discussed the possibility of resuming gas talks between Ukraine, Russia and the European Union with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. On August 7, Naftogaz expressed its readiness to seek to resolve the Russia-Ukraine gas issue via an intermediary.
Previous gas talks lasted from April through mid-June, with Kiev insisting on a significant reduction of prices for Russian gas, and refusing to clear its debt. Later, Ukraine did not agree to the conditions of the price decrease suggested by Russia.
Gazprom switched to a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine on June 16, and said it would continue the discussion only when Ukraine paid off its debt. Ukraine’s gas debt is currently believed to be in excess of $5 billion.