Russia–Ukraine gas dispute

Russia–Ukraine gas dispute

The dispute between Russian state-owned gas supplier Gazprom and Ukraine over natural gas prices started in March 2005 (over the price of natural gas and prices for the transition of Gazprom's gas to Europe). The two parties were unable to reach an agreement to resolve the dispute, and Russia cut gas exports to Ukraine on January 1 2006 at 10:00 MSK. The supply was restored on January 4 2006, when a preliminary agreement between two gas companies was settled. However, the inter-government treaty has not been signed yet.

Amidst speculation that preceded the signing of the agreement, the presidents of both countries declared on January 11 2006 in Kazakhstan that both sides did indeed arrive at compromises in a mutually satisfying agreement, and declared that they would more work of cooperation in other areas of conduct of the neighbour countries.

A new gas dispute arose in October 2007 and it culminated with the gas reduction in March 2008.


Ukraine consumed around 80 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas a year in 2004–2005. 20 bcm of that were of Ukraine's own production, around 36 bcm were bought from Turkmenistan, and about 17 bcm were received from Russia as a payment for transporting Russian gas to Europe. The remaining 6-7 bcm were purchased from Russia. According to the CIA's World Factbook 2005, Ukraine is the 4th largest importer and 6th largest consumer of natural gas in the world. This is partly due to waste and inefficiency of industry dating back to the Soviet times.Fact|date=June 2008

Russia supplies about 8 % of Ukraine's annual gas requirements.Fact|date=March 2008 This gas had been supplied at heavily subsidized prices - about US$50 per 1,000 cubic meters compared to the market rate of about US$230 per 1,000 cubic meters.Fact|date=March 2008 Note, however, Ukraine charges Russia transit fees for gas Russia passes through the Ukrainian gas pipeline network to Western customers. Transit fees were taken in the form of gas, with Ukraine taking 15 % of gas passing through their pipes.

It was noted by Pascal Lamy of the World Trade Organisation that all Post-Soviet states that buy gas from Gazprom must pay today's market prices for their energy needs in order to improve the efficiency of their economies. [ [ Вести.Ru: новости, видео и фото дня ] ] [ [ @ NewKerala.Com News Channel ] ] Lamy recalled, that it would have been much easier to resolve the conflict if both Russia and Ukraine had been WTO members. Moreover, he added that the problem had arisen in the first place because neither Russia nor Ukraine have true market prices for energy resources, thus resulting in an inefficient energy uses amongst the states. He added that the incident would not have any influence over the acceptance of Russia into the WTO.

Andrei Illarionov, former economic adviser to Vladimir Putin dismissed in December 2005, noted in this respect that there was no such thing as a gas market prices, because there was no such thing as gas market. [,8599,1145192,00.html Q&A: Putin's Critical Adviser - TIME ] ]

On 8 December 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin noted in his speech that household consumers in Ukraine get gas for lower prices than do household consumers in Russia, the country that sells gas to Ukraine. He noted that Russia subsidised Ukraine on the gas matter by the amount of US$1 billion a year from the Russian budget (money that Gazprom would have paid into the budget from its revenues) — given that 25 million Russians still live below the poverty line, such a load onto the Russian economy is more than questionable, Putin noted. [ [ Вести.Ru: новости, видео и фото дня ] ]

On 26 December 2005, Prime Minister of Ukraine Yuriy Yekhanurov confirmed that public-utility prices for gas are lower in Ukraine than those in Russia, and said that a change is to be made, although the officials of the public utility company Naftohaz Ukrainy, which is the supplier of gas for household and budget consumers, said that they are going to keep the same prices for households and budget-organisation in 2006 as they were in 2005. [ [ Вести.Ru: новости, видео и фото дня ] ]

2002 contract

According to the contract signed by Russian state company Gazprom and Ukrainian state company Naftohaz Ukrainy on June 21 2002, which was supposed to be valid to the end of 2013, the payment for the transfer of Russian natural gas through Ukrainian pipeline system had been made in the form of barter exchange – up to 15% of gas pumped through the Ukrainian territory was taken by Ukraine instead of payment for the transfer transport. Originally, the amount of gas to be shipped as payment for the transfer was supposed to be negotiated every year and to be fixed by inter-governmental protocols.Fact|date=March 2008

Addendum #4

On August 9 2004 the two companies signed an addendum #4 to the contract, according to which the amount of gas given as a payment was calculated based on the tariff of US$1.09 for transportation of 1,000 cubic meters over a distance of 100 km and the price of the natural gas was US$50 per 1,000 cubic meters (approximately US$1.40 per million Btu, see Calorific value of natural gas). According to the addendum the price was not subject to changes until the end of 2009. [ [ Україна перехоплює ініціативу в газовій війні. Читайте документи / Українська правда] ]

Gazprom argued that addendum #4 was only applicable provided that the two countries sign an annual Intergovernmental Protocol specifying the terms of gas transit. According to Gazprom, the addendum #4 becomes void as the annual Protocol had not been signed for 2006 under the required terms. [ Gazprom ] ]

Initially, Russia insisted on a new contract in which Ukraine would be paying about US$160 per 1,000 cubic meters (approximately US$4.40 per mmBtu). However, under Ukraine's hesitations, on 14 December 2005 Gazprom demanded US$230 per 1,000 cubic meters (~ US$6.35/mmBtu) [ [ Вести.Ru: новости, видео и фото дня ] ] claiming that such a price hike would reflect the trends in the world markets. [ [ Корреспондент » Главная » Бизнес » "Газпром": Цена газа для Украины может составить $500-700 ] ] Some commentators point out that the notion of "world market price" is hardly applicable to natural gas, especially in the region where supplies are dominated by a state-controlled monopoly. [ [ Inopressa: зБЪПЧПЕ ДБЧМЕОЙЕ рХФЙОБ ] ] Still, the market price for natural gas traded in NYMEX was significantly higher than many existing contract prices due to the price hike of oil and gas in 2005. As of January 2006, the price for natural gas on NYMEX was about US$10/mmBtu. The spot prices in Europe ranged from US$10 to US$20 per mmBtu. Existing Russian contract prices to most European countries ranged from US$110 to US$280 per 1,000 cubic meters). [ [,dwp_uuid=81c13626-53d0-11db-8a2a-0000779e2340.html / Europe / Brussels - Gazprom warns of record gas prices ahead ] ]

Russia agreed that the tariff for transit should be also increased, but only to US$1.74 per 1,000 cubic meters/100 km. [ [] ] (Transportation tariffs in Western Europe in 2005 ranged from $0.9 per 1,000 cubic meters/100 km in Belgium to US$4.5 in Greece; in the most important transit countries the tariff were: US$2.5 in Germany and US$2.7 in Austria). [ [ Competitive Gas Report, p. 85] ] However, there were no market prices for transit; they were formed by the specific service costs of a pipeline, and in the EU subject to national energy market regulators' approval.

Russia claims that Gazprom's subsidies to the Ukrainian economy amounted to billions of dollars. [ [ Обнародован текст стенограммы «газовых переговоров» ] ] Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Ukraine has enough money in its budget to pay the market price: "This is a heavy burden for the Russian budget... The consumers in Ukraine are getting gas today for a much lower price than Russian citizens pay in their own country! And we still have about 25 million citizens, who live below the poverty line". [ [ Vladimir Putin Charged Ukraine - Kommersant Moscow ] ] Ukraine, however, contended that Russian demands violated the contract of June 21 2002 and the addendum #4 to it of August 9 2004. Gazprom insisted that both contract and the addendum #4 were not and could not be active without the annual Intergovernmental Protocol that is the base and that has higher legal status.

2005 negotiations

The 2005 negotiations for new contracts were conducted between Russian Gazprom and its Ukrainian counterpart Naftohaz Ukrainy. At first, the Ukrainian side staunchly opposed any gas price increases, proposing to pay for gas with weapon supplies, [ [ Новости :: Украина готова платить России за газ поставками оружия ] ] but eventually Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko agreed to some concessions, in which the price of gas would be gradually increased over time. He stated that Ukrainian industry would become unprofitable if the price of gas rose above $90. He also called for avoiding the politicization of the dispute, and expressed his confidence that the problem could be solved by economical rather than political means.

About 80 % of Russian gas exports to Western Europe were made through Ukraine. Russia stated that it would like to have a consortium company created from Gazprom and Naftogaz, while Ukraine opposed that as it would mean that it would lose control over its own gas pipeline structure. Some Ukrainian officials called for a review of the lease price Russia paid to Ukraine for keeping its Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol, Crimea: Russia currently pays about $97 million per year for the lease. Ukrainian officials declared that the lease of the port facilities to Russia is underpriced and called for a complete valuation of inventory of the facilities, which as some suggest could be worth up to US$2 billion, [ [ ] ] while Russia resisted any discussions that might affect the conditions of the lease. There were speculations that the calls to reconsider the lease price were prompted by US pressure, especially since they were made within hours of the US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice's visit to Kiev on December 8 2005. [ [ ИноСМИ.Ru | Отношения России с Западом вращаются вокруг украинской 'оси'] ] Such reevaluation, if undertaken, would be equivalent to revocation of 1997 Russia-Ukraine treaty [ [] ] in which Russia acknowledges predominantly Russian-populated Crimea as part of Ukraine in the first place, so it is a sensitive issue with further potential repercussions.

Andrei Illarionov, then Vladimir Putin economic adviser, was offered by the Russian government to explain the price hike and other issues in the Russia-Ukraine relations as liberal economic policies, but refused to do so and resigned as this had nothing to do with liberal economic policies according to his beliefs.

Course of events

In March 2005 Gazprom, the Russian state-owned gas monopoly company informed Ukraine that gas prices were to be raised to market rates. Ukraine objected; on one hand accepting the need to pay at the going rate, on the other hand objecting to the short notice of such a large increase in gas price. In March 2005 Ukraine took steps to change radically the method of compensation for the transition of Gazprom's gas to Europe, requiring a change from barter to actual money. The Russian company Gazprom (owned by the Russian state) took steps (March 2005) to change radically the prices for natural gas sold to Ukraine. Ukraine’s new government did agree to buy natural gas from Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom at higher prices in return for increased gas transit fees (source: Russian newspaper Kommersant daily, Tuesday, March 29 2005). Negotiations started, Gazprom first suggested to raise the price to 300% and later to 460% (from US$50 per 1,000 cubic meters to US$150 to US$230). The old price Ukraine paid was about 486% lower than Turkey paid Gazprom (Turkey pays US$243 to Russia, US$236 to Iran for gas). [ [ Turks.US Daily News - Turkey Pays $243 to Russia, $236 to Iran for Gas ] ] The two parties were unable to reach an agreement to resolve the dispute, and Gazprom cut gas exports to Ukraine on 1 January 2006 at 10:00 MSK. Gazprom assured Western customers their gas supplies would not be affected. As it transpired, gas supplies were affected, with all customers reporting varying degrees of reduction in gas flow. Gazprom accused Ukraine of taking gas; Ukraine's state-owned energy firm Naftogaz admitted withholding some Russian gas intended for other European countries, [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Ukraine takes extra Russian gas] ] but said it would still meet its contractual obligations. A spokesman for Naftogaz said the excess gas was needed to cope with the especially cold January 2006 weather. After great media interest and political discussion in the two countries, the EU and the U.S. a compromise contract was reached, where gas prices were roughly doubled, but Ukraine transit fees also increased, offsetting the increase in cost. The supply was restored on January 4 2006, when the preliminary agreement between Ukraine and Gazprom was settled.

Many (European and US) media and analysts saw the conflict as the Government of Russia 'punishing' the new 'orange' Government of Ukraine, who was considered more pro-NATO and EU than its predecessor. Gazprom say that that's nonsense, they just don't want to subsidize former Soviet republics. On April 3-4 April, 2006 Gazprom indicated it would triple the price of natural gas sold to Belarus after December 31 2006. Unlike Ukraine that time, Belarus has close political ties to Moscow and this action created doubts about the supposed political motives of raising Ukraine's fuel rates. However when the 'orange' Government of Ukraine was ousted later in 2006 and replaced by a new more Moscow-friendly Government lead by prime-minister Viktor Yanukovych, the price for 2007 grew up further to US$135 per 1,000 cubic meters (from US$95 in 2006). [ [ Price for gas for Ukraine in 2007 will amount to 135 USD per 1,000 cubic metres / News / NRCU] ] On the other hand, Belarus has agreed to pay US$100 per 1,000 cubic meters for 2007. [ [] ]

During speculation about the signing of the agreement, the presidents of the two countries declared on 11 January 2006 in Kazakhstan that both sides had indeed come, through compromise, to a mutually satisfying agreement. They declared plans for further cooperation. Gas supplies to Western customers have since been on agreed level. To date, this agreement appears to be in force but unratified.Fact|date=March 2008

Cutting off the supply

On December 13 2005, Gazprom threatened that if an agreement about the new price is not reached before January 1 2006 10:00 MSK, it would cut off supply of natural gas to Ukraine. The next day, December 14, Gazprom stated unilaterally that the new price would have to be US$220-230 per 1,000 cubic meters. Ukraine claimed that such steps would violate the past contracts and brought up the possibility to resort to international arbitration. On December 19 2005, Ukrainian Prime Minister, Yuriy Yekhanurov, traveled to Moscow but was unable to reach any agreement on the prices. The next day, December 20, Yekhanurov stated that Ukraine would be able to do without Russian gas and urged development of energy efficiency technologies.

European transit withdrawals

On December 26 2005, Yekhanurov stated that Ukraine had a contractual right for 15% of the Russian gas transiting to Western Europe in his interview to the Ukrainian 5 Channel TV company. [ [ Ukraine stakes claim to 15 pct of Russian gas transiting to western Europe - ] ] This statement came largely in response to the Gazprom threat to resort to the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce should Ukraine engage in unlawful withdrawal of Russian transit gas. [ [ ] ] [ [ Page expired - MSN Money ] ] Earlier, Yekhanurov announced that Ukraine could refer the case to the Institute if the compromise is not reached. [ [ Interfax: General and business news from Russia, CIS, Central Europe and China ] ] Both countries are signatories to the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards since 1960, so a decision by the Stockholm Institute in the case would be legally binding. According to Ukraine's government, its transit arrangements allow it to siphon off 15% of gas moving through the country.

On December 29 2005 Vladimir Putin offered Ukraine a US$3.6 billion loan to cover the cost of transition to market natural gas prices. His Ukrainian counterpart, Victor Yushchenko, promptly rejected the offer. [ [ / Home UK / UK - Ukraine rejects Moscow gas loan offer ] ] In the last days of 2005, European countries, which had stayed out of the dispute until then, began urging Russia and Ukraine to find a compromise. On December 31 2005, in a last-ditch effort to solve the dispute, Russian president offered to postpone the price increase until April 2006 if Ukraine immediately agreed to the new prices. Ukraine, however, rejected the offer. [ [ Ukraine rejects Russian natural gas price hike plan - Gazprom - ] ]

On January 1 2006 Gazprom started reducing the pressure in the pipeline system [ [ Russia cuts off gas supply to Ukraine - International Herald Tribune ] ] ahead of the deadline of the Russian ultimatum set for 10:00 MSK. On January 2 2006 Russia accused Ukraine of stealing US$ 25 million worth of gas. [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Ukraine gas row hits EU supplies ] ] This was promptly denied by Ukrainian officials, although they flatly refused to sign any documents that would allow comparison of the volume of gas entering Ukraine from Russia and issued from Ukraine to the EU. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]

It is worth noting that as supply reductions are known to be occurring, either Ukraine is siphoning off gas, or Russia is undersupplying and falsely accusing Ukraine of siphoning. To address the latter speculation, Gazprom has invited the Switzerland-based goods inspection and testing company SGS to record the amount of gas that is entering Ukraine's pipeline network.

The EU-Russia gas supply contract requires Russia to supply gas to the former USSR border. Therefore, if Ukraine steals from or blocks the pipelines, the EU could sue Russia for violation of the contract. Therefore, as soon as the pressure fell in the EU, Russia had no choice but to turn back on the supply to Ukraine on January 3 2006. [ [ Sun Bin: Ukraine gas price, industry unit convention, and the core issues ] ] Fact|date=February 2007

Impact on European countries

Despite Ukrainian reassurances to the contrary, many European countries saw an immediate drop in the supply of the gas: [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Ukraine 'stealing Europe's gas' ] ]
* Austria – supplies down by around 33 %
* Croatia – supplies down by around 33 % [ [ Breaking News, Business, Financial & Investing News, Commodities & More | ] ]
* France – supplies down by 25–30 %
* Germany – supplies down by an unspecified amount
* Hungary – Russian imports down 40 %
* Italy – Russian imports down 24 % (6 % of total imports) [ [ Italy gas supplies from Russia down 24 pct, 6 pct of total - Eni CEO - ] ]
* Poland – supply down by 14 %
* Romania – supplies down by around 20 %
* Slovakia – supplies down by around 33 %
* Slovenia – Russian supplies down by around 33 % (40 % of average annual gas supply).

The United Kingdom has expressed concern that there would be a drop in their supplies in the near future, though none had yet been reported. [] In response to these drops Gazprom announced that more gas would be pumped to Europe. [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Russia vows to end gas shortage ] ]

The alternative gas pipeline across Belarus only has a capacity of 30 bcm a year,compared to 120 bcm a year flowing west across Ukraine, and has little spare capacity [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]

"On the very day it takes over chairmanship of the G-8, it cuts off supplies to Ukraine, which indirectly at least threatens gas supplies to Europe. It undermines Russia's credibility straightaway," said Christopher Weafer, chief strategist at Moscow's URALSIB Capital. On January 2 2006, "economic ministers of Germany, Italy, Austria and France warned the government in Kiev that their nations' "perfect relations" with Ukraine could be affected if it failed to deliver all of the gas meant for European countries." [ [,1,2895419.story?coll=la-headlines-world] Dead link|date=March 2008] On January 3, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov "asked the European Union Tuesday to influence Ukraine to ensure full and uninterrupted gas transit from Russia to EU countries." [ [ RIA Novosti - Russia - Fradkov asks EU to influence Ukraine to ensure gas transit ] ] In response to Russian demands, EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs from Latvia warned Russia not to make out of EU a "hostage" of its dealings with Ukraine, "I don't think making the EU a hostage is the proper way." [ [,34263,3095414.html : Error 404 ] ] Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ursula Plassnik criticised Russian action against Ukraine. [ [] ] On 4th January Poland presented the position of Visegrad Group countries alongside Austria during special meeting of EU devoted to the gas issue. The statement included the opinion that it is unacceptable to demand higher prices by blocking of gas deliveries and that the EU has to find other sources of gas besides Russia. [ [] ]

Agreement to end the dispute

On January 4 2006 the two countries reached an agreement to end the dispute. [ [ BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Ukraine and Russia reach gas deal ] ] The 5-year contract was signed, although with the prices set for the next 6 months only. In the deal Gazprom "secured the hefty price hikes it had been demanding, raising the cost for its supply" to US$230 per 1,000 cubic metres to Russian-Swiss company RosUkrEnergo, which after mixing it with two thirds of cheaper supplies from Central Asia will resell it to Ukraine at a price of US$95 per 1,000 cubic metres. [ [ ROUNDUP Russia, Ukraine reach deal on gas pricing; EU relieved, oil price falls - ] ] [ [ Russia, Ukraine Agree on New Gas Prices - Kommersant Moscow ] ] The parties also agreed to raise the tariff for transit from US$1.09 to US$1.60 per 1,000 cubic meters/100 km which concerns not only the transit of Russian gas to Europe but also Turkmen gas through Russia to Ukraine. The agreed price would fluctuate with the market, according to a Gazprom spokesman. Most analysts see it as a face-saving deal as both countries announced they were fully satisfied with the result.

However some experts doubt that this deal is profitable for RosUkrEnergo. The company has to buy 16 bcm of gas from Russia at US$230 per 1000 cubic meters, 40 bcm from Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan at price of $60-65 per1000 cubic meters, and then sell this gas to Ukraine at US$95/1000 cubic meters. Besides, RosUkrEnergo has to transport 40 bln cubic meters of gas to Europe at price US$1.60 per 1000 cubic meters per 100 km, or US$1,920 million. Total expenses become US$2500 +US$3800 + US$1920 million, or US$8.2 billion. Revenues from selling the gas are just US$5.5 billion. Likely the loss of US$2.7 billion is compensated by some undisclosed agreements, possibly covering Ukrainian debt as well as lease of the pipeline. [ [ Газета.Ru - Сухой остаток газового спора ] ] Another analysis shows that, depending on the price from Turkmenistan, assuming the transit revenue, RosUkrEnergo's breakeven point is around US$70 per 1000 cubic meters for Asian gas. At US$65 per 1000 cubic meters it could make a small profit. [ [ Sun Bin: How the Ukraine Russia (RosUkrEnergo) gas deal work ] ]

After the agreement was settled, (then) ex-Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko said that she is going to sue Naftogas of Ukraine for the violation of "state-interests of Ukraine". However, the leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia Vladimir Zhirinovsky said that he is going to bring forth a parliamentary investigation because of the possible violation of "state interests of Russia".

On 11 January 2006, Vladimir Putin and Viktor Yushchenko confirmed that the conflict had concluded and promised more cooperation in the fields of science, education and public health services. [ [ Вести.Ru: новости, видео и фото дня ] ]

Alleged political motivation

Many observers around the globe alleged that Russia's step was an act of political retaliation for Ukraine's moving out of Russia's sphere of influence and for its pro-Western policy. Others alleged that the move to increase gas prices during the winter season may be intended to decrease the popularity of the Ukrainian president and his NSNU party among the voters, before the parliamentary elections in spring 2006 or that it was a Russian attempt to win control over the Ukrainian pipeline system.

Russia rejected the accusation that there was any political motivation behind gas prices, pointing out the fact that the Russian ally Armenia pays the same price as Georgia, which is known to have frosty relations with Russia. Russia contends that the move to higher gas prices is economically, and not politically, motivated and points out that other post-Soviet countries, such as Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, and the Baltic states, are also seeing their prices increased. However, the prices for Armenia, and the Baltic states remain in the much lower range of $110-125 per 1,000 cubic meters in the year 2006. [RIA Novosti: [ Moldova against Russian gas price hike but can pay] ] According to Gazprom, the reason for that is said to be that the gas for Transcaucasia originates from gas fields that are not connected to the European market and thus there are no opportunity costs for Russia for not selling this gas to Europe. Concerning the Baltic states, Gazprom pointed at some infrastructure units in common possession as well as the timely signing of agreements on transient prices when the difference with European prices was not yet as high. Moreover, Russia does not have to offer the same prices to all its customers as long as it is not a World Trade Organization member.

In the Belarus case, lower prices are because Gazprom owns Belarusian pipelines and that it has a long-term lease of the land where the pipelines run. Because of this, as of 27 December 2005 contract, Belarus will be paying only 47 USD per 1,000 cubic meters in 2006. Gazprom pointed out the fact that a similar kind of deal was offered to Ukraine to keep the prices low, but was rejected. On March 30, 2006, Gazprom announced that Belarus will have to pay market prices for gas starting in 2007. From January 2007 Belarus pays 100$ for 1,000 cubic meters, while Ukraine pays 135$, Germany and other EU countries paid an average of 280$ in 2007 [ [ RUSNET :: CIS Today :: 2007/12/18 :: Gazprom sees gas prices in Germany up in 2008 ] ] [ [,dwp_uuid=81c13626-53d0-11db-8a2a-0000779e2340.html Gazprom warns of record gas prices ahead] ] .

Earlier this year Gazprom declined Turkmenistan's offer to buy natural gas at $58 per 1,000 cubic meters as too expensive, in December 2005 it made an unexpected deal to buy additional 30 billion cubic metres of gas at $65 (with 15 billion cu metres to be delivered in 1Q2006). Many observers say that was done to limit Ukraine's options to seek alternative sources of the gas. [ [ BBC NEWS | Business | Q&A: Ukraine gas row ] ] [RIA Novosti: [ Gazprom to buy 30 bln cu m of gas from Turkmenistan in 2006 ] ] While that may be the motivation, one should note that oil and gas price doubled during the year of 2005. At the same time Russia openly admitted it had limited Ukraine's access to the gas that Ukraine had been importing from Turkmenistan (it should be noted that Ukraine never bought gas directly from Turkmenistan, but always through Russia, the more so there is no common border between countries).

Some observers point out that it is hard to regard economic motives as being the basis for Gazprom's behaviour, since Gazprom's behaviour is economically inconsistent, while it is possible to regard political motives as the basis for Gazprom's behaviour, since it is largely state-owned and the prices it charges seem to correlate with the political relationship of Russia with the purchaser (although Armenia, which is politically friendly to Russia, still gets the same price as the rest of the less-politically friendly Transcaucasia, thus Moscow denies the claim that political friendliness plays a role in the formation of the prices). [ [ AZG Armenian Daily ] ] On the other hand, the price offered to Ukraine is still lower than that to Romania, and to EU, since transport cost to Ukraine are significantly lower than to Western Europe. (For EU, there was long term contract dated back to 1970s which helped to lower the average price.) Therefore, one could also argue that Russia "is" offering a discount to market price to Ukraine. It is the deal with Belarus, not the one with Ukraine, which is at a deep discount, which is politically minded.

Some analysts attributed Russian actions to the start of a parliamentary election campaign in Ukraine, in which the pro-Western forces were bound to face a challenge from opposition parties dedicated to tightening Ukraine-Russia relations. [ [] Dead link|date=March 2008]

Gas dispute of 2007-2008

On October 2 2007 Gazprom once again threatened to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine; because a US$1.3 billion bill wasn't paid [ [ BBC NEWS | Business | Gazprom may cut gas to Ukraine] ] , the dispute appeared to be settled on October 8 2007 [ [ BBC NEWS | Business | Ukraine settles Russian gas row] ] . But on January 5 2008 Gazprom warned Ukraine again it will reduce its gas supplies on January 11 2008 if a US$1.5 billion gas debt would not be paid. [ [ BBC NEWS | Business | Gazprom threatens Ukraine gas cut] ] Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko announced on Tuesday February 12 2008 an agreement on the gas issue at a news conference in Moscow [ [ Russia, Ukraine deal averts gas crisis - ] ] , Ukraine would begin paying off its debts for natural gas, consumed in November-December 2007 and the price at US$179.5 will be preserved in the year 2008 [ [ UNIAN - Ukraine, Russia, settle gas debt dispute (Update) ] ] . In an earlier deal reached on December 2 2007 it was agreed that Ukraine will pay US$179.5 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2008 (from US$130 in 2007) [ [ Russia, Ukraine reach new gas deal at 38 % higher price] ] , the presidents also decided to replace Rosukrenergo and Ukrgazenergo by two new intermediaries, creating them as joint ventures of Gazprom and Naftogaz [ [ UNIAN - Yushchenko called Tymoshenko’s policy a policy of risky ventures and intrigues ] ] .

At the end of February 2008, Gazprom threatened to reduce the supply of natural gas to Ukraine from March 3 2008, unless the pre-payment for 2008 had been paid. [ [ Gazprom restarts row with Ukraine] , BBC, published 2008-02-26] [ [ Gazprom to reduce Ukraine's gas] , BBC, 2008-02-29] The Ukrainian government said it paid the gas bill for 2007 but still has refused to pay the bill for 2008. [ [ Russia and Ukraine reach gas deal] , BBC, published 2008-02-12] A Gazprom spokesman claimed that 1.9 billion cubic metres of gas deliveries worth about 600 million dollars still wasn't paid. Ukraine disagrees with a debt that accumulated in recent months when Russia used its own gas to make up for a shortfall in less expensive Central Asian gas. [ [ Gazprom cuts gas to Ukraine by 25% | France 24 ] ] 3 March 2008 Gazprom cut it's shipments to Ukraine by 25% (a day later with another 25% [ [ Gazprom cuts gas exports to Ukraine by another 25% :: Main news of the day :: Interfax - Ukraine ] ] ), claiming that the US$1.5 billion debt still wasn't paid, Ukraine officials said it had been paid [ [ BBC NEWS | Business | Gazprom cuts Ukraine gas supply ] ] . Gas supplies where restored march 5 after Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Naftogaz Ukrainy CEO Oleh Dubyna agreed during negotiations by phone on a settlement to the crisis with gas supplies to Ukraine. [ [ Gazprom, Ukraine agree to resolve crisis, restrictions lifted on gas supplies to Ukraine :: Main news of the day :: Interfax - Ukraine ] ] On March 6 the Ukrainian cabinet refused to execute the gas agreements the President of Ukraine Viktor Yushchenko had reached with President of Russia Vladimir Putin. The government doesn't want to pay in advance for 2008 and it opposes the creation of Naftogaz-Gazprom venture that would sell gas in Ukraine [ [ UNIAN - Tymoshenko refused to execute gas agreements of Presidents ] ] . Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko stated that "Ukraine doesn’t need any additional newly created joint ventures. As of March 1, UkrGazEnergo will no longer be operating on Ukraine’s domestic gas market, the costs (for gas consumed in January and February) will be paid directly to RosUkrEnergo. But for January and February we are ready to transfer the money to wherever we agree with Gazprom, so that it’s convenient for Gazprom” [ [ Yulia Tymoshenko is satisfied that Ukraine “withstood the confrontation” over gas ] ] .

ee also

* Druzhba pipeline
* Energy policy of Russia
* Energy superpower
* Nord Stream
* Politics of Ukraine
* Politics of Russia
* Russia-Belarus energy dispute
* South Stream
* Yamal-Europe pipeline


External links

* [ Regnum News Agency: All Headlines on the Subject “Gazprom to raise gas prices for neighboring countries”]
* [ Platts podcast: Jamie McDuell, Web Editor, and Stuart Elliott, European Editor for Platts Oilgram News, discuss the potential for, and possible outcome of a new dispute between Ukraine and Russia over the price of gas; June29, 2006]
* [ Leonid Grigoriev, Marsel Salikhov: Ukraine – Growth and Gas, in: Russia in Global Affairs, 2/2006, April – June 2006]
* [ John M. Roberts, Energy Security Specialist, Platts: Mitigating Geopolitical Risks: Eurasian Energy Security in the Wake of the Russia – Ukraine Imbroglio; Fourth Asia Gas Partnership Summit, 21February 2006, Delhi]
* [ Jim Nichol, Steven Woehrel, Bernard A. Gelb: Russia’s Cutoff of Natural Gas to Ukraine: Context and Implications; Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, February 15, 2006]
* [ PACE Global Energy Services: Russia-Ukraine Natural Gas Dispute, January 2006]
* [ Jonathan Stern: The Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis; January 16, 2006]
* [ Ukraine, in Rebuke to Russia, Says It Has Right to Take Gas] , New York Times, January 3, 2006
* [ BBC point-counter point article on the issue]
* [ Map of major natural gas pipelines in central and eastern Europe] , BBC (based on [ INOGATE detailed European map] )
* "Who is blackmailing whom?", Ukrayinska Pravda, [ English translation available]
* [ One Gas Mask For All] , in Zerkalo Nedeli, December 17 - December 23 2005.
* [ Ukraine - Russia: A EUROPEAN APPROACH TO Ukraine’s GAS DILEMMA] , "ibid".
* [ Dispute Over Natural Gas Prices in Ukraine] , New York Times, December 16 2005.
* [ Russia, Ukraine Quarrel Over Gas] , Washington Post, December 17 2005.
* [ Russia and Ukraine fight over natural gas and Black Sea Navy prices] , Pravda, December 22 2005
* [ Natural gas dilemma in Ukraine] , Energy Bulletin, November 8 2005
* [ Gazprom Becomes the Bear of Russia] , New York Times, December 27 2005
* [ "Ukraine captured the initiative in the Gas War. Read the documents" article in Ukrayinska Pravda ] - has the original text of the agreement in icon/ru icon
* [ Europe has left it too late to wrest back control from Russia over gas] , The Times, January 4 2006.
* [ of Russian obligation to deliver gas to EU] , [ Source]
* [ Comparison of market price for gas in NYMEX, and Russia contract price to other European countries]
* [ How the Ukraine Russia (RosUkrEnergo) gas deal work]
* [ Gas crisis: British energy minister unfairly blames Russia] , Pravda, 4 January 2006
* [ Ukraine takes extra Russian gas] , BBC News, January 24, 2006

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