European companies should be allowed to receive Russian gas once it reaches the border between Russia and Ukraine, the CEO of Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz, Yuri Vitrenko, has said.
In his words, Naftogaz was seeking European partners who would get Russian gas once it crosses the border and subsequently sell it in Ukraine and Europe.
"Regretfully, this could not be achieved at the moment, because one European company refused. However, we expect many European companies, who earlier received Russian gas in Slovakia, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, to receive gas on the Russian-Ukrainian border and later to sell it, including in Ukraine, at a price that would be lower than the European price, plus transit fees for transportation from Europe to Ukraine," he said in the Public TV broadcast, TASS reports.
The Naftogaz chief also said that his company saw risks of Russia refusing to transit gas via Ukraine once Naftogaz withdraws its lawsuits against Gazprom.
"If we withdraw our lawsuits, - and we are obliged to do so - if the transit continues at first, but ceases later, then, as it turns out, we had waived our claims for no benefit at all. This is a huge risk," Vitrenko said, adding that Ukraine was working on "a system of treaties that would minimize or completely eliminate this risk."
He added that Naftogaz was expecting to receive support from its European partners and the Ukrainian leadership "to put certain pressure on the Russian side, to make them honor those agreements, to have them signed this week and to see this protocol being put into practice rather than remain only on paper."
At the same time, the official described the protocol, signed with Russia last week, as "beneficial for Ukraine."
"In my opinion, right now this protocol reflects a compromise that would be beneficial for Ukraine," he said.
On Saturday it became known that Russia and Ukraine are to sign a new five-year transit agreement by December 29. Minimal transit amount will be 65 billion cubic meters in 2020, while 40 billion cubic meters will be transited in 2021-2024 annually. Ukrainian Energy Minister Alexey Orzhel said Ukraine would waive all of its current legal claims against Gazprom. However, Naftogaz is to receive almost $3 billion from Gazprom in accordance with the Stockholm arbitration ruling by the end of the year.
However, the package deal does not stipulate direct supplies of Russian gas to Ukraine.