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Ukraine's stored natural gas enough for one month - minister

Natural gas reserves in Ukraine's storage units will be enough to supply the country for a month only, Ukrainian parliament-appointed Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yury Prodan said on Friday.

"As of today we have 7 bln cubic meters of stored natural gas," Prodan said. "In other words, it will be enough for the country for about a month, considering the current pace of consumption."

Speaking about the possible ways of reducing the gas consumption, Prodan said that some enterprises in the country can be cut off from gas supplies as "the weather's got warmer."

"We also need to look and find some [manufacturing] productions that could be limited in their output and where natural gas can be replaced with coal," Prodan said.

The official, however, added that it was undesirable for Kiev and Moscow to deadlock the situation by reducing the volume of Russian natural gas supplies for Ukraine.

Gas price for Ukraine

Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said at a meeting with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday that the price of the Russian natural gas for Ukraine had been set at $485 per 1,000 cubic meters as of April 2014. He also said that with account for gas supplies in March, Ukraine's debt already exceeded $2.2 billion.

Earlier in the week Miller said Ukraine's Naftogaz debt stood at $1.7 billion. Proceeding from the gas price of $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters in the first quarter of 2014, Naftogaz imported in March some 1.956 billion cubic meters worth about $500 million.

The price for Russian gas for Ukraine in the second quarter was set at $385.5 per 1,000 cubic meters. Gazprom said earlier that the price rose due to the return to earlier contract agreements, as Ukraine failed to fulfil its commitments under an additional agreement concluded in December 2013, which obliged the country to pay for supplied volumes of Russian gas in time.

On April 2, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law on denunciation of the Kharkiv Accords with Ukraine, which were struck in 2010 and stipulated that Russia's lease of naval facilities in Crimea [then part of Ukraine] would be extended by 25 years beyond 2017 - until 2042.

The Kharkiv deals envisioned a discount of $100 per 1,000 cubic meters on Russian gas for Kiev. Now that the accords have been denounced due to Crimea's accession to the Russian Federation, the discount will no longer be applied, raising the gas price by another $100 to $485.5 per 1,000 cubic meters.

From the second quarter, Gazprom will have to pay 10% more for gas transit to European consumers via Ukraine. Gazprom has pledged to fulfil its commitments in full.

[Source: Itar Tass, Kiev, 04Apr14]

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