Ukraine has submitted an application to purchase just 24.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas from Russian gas giant Gazprom in 2013, down from 52 bcm contracted for 2012, Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko said on Thursday.
“We sent it [the 2013 application] to them before the deadline specified in the contract, the end of June, and our plans are based on the amount contained in the application, 24.5 bcm,” Boyko said.
Boyko said that the sides were still negotiating over the final volume.
The head of Ukrainian state energy concern Naftogaz of Ukraine, Yevhen Bakulin, had previously said Ukraine planned to import 27 bcm of Russian gas in 2013.
Ukraine tried to reduce gas purchase volumes in 2012 to 27 bcm from the 52 bcm provided for in the contract, but Gazprom has rejected the idea, saying that the annual contract volumes cannot be amended any later than six months prior to the start of deliveries.
Gazprom’s long-term contract with Naftogaz contains a “take-or-pay” provision that applies to 80 percent of the contracted volumes for a given year. That means Ukraine must pay for at least 41.6 bcm of gas this year (based on the 52 bcm figure), even if it takes less.
Ukraine imported 18.738 bcm of Russian gas in the first seven months of 2012, 39% less than in the same period last year (including volumes imported by Naftogaz and the Ostchem Holding chemical group).