Russian-Ukrainian gas consultations with the participation of Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy and Environmental Protection of Ukraine Alexey Orzhel, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller, the heads of Naftogaz of Ukraine and LLC Gas Transmission System of Ukraine were held in Vienna on Thursday.
This is according to statements by the Russian Energy Ministry and Gazprom, TASS reports.
"The parties discussed Russian-Ukrainian cooperation in the gas sector — settlement of mutual claims for the implementation of contracts, the terms for the transit of Russian gas to Europe from 2020, the prospects for direct purchase of Russian gas for Ukrainian consumers," the statement said.
Russia, the European Commission and Ukraine have been holding consultations on gas transit after 2020. The dialogue is complicated by the ongoing legal disputes between Russia’s Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine. Moscow offers a "package solution" that includes a settlement agreement on legal disputes and direct gas purchases at reduced prices. As a fallback, Russia is ready to extend the current transit agreement for the whole year of 2020.
Ukraine considers the settlement agreement on legal disputes and the signing of a short-term contract to be unacceptable. Earlier this month, Naftogaz’ executive director, Yury Vitrenko, announced that Ukraine would pump Russian transit gas to its underground storage facilities (UGS), if this gas entered the country without an appropriate contract starting from January 1, 2020.
The next round of trilateral consultations on the transit of Russian gas to Europe through Ukraine from 2020 is scheduled for the first week of December.
The existing contracts for the supply and transit of Russian gas through Ukraine expire on December 31.