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Ukraine seeking to keep current price for Russian gas until 2011

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KIEV, June 15 (RIA Novosti) - Naftogaz will seek to maintain the current rate it pays for Russian natural gas until 2011, the acting head of Ukraine's national oil and gas company said Thursday.

Ukraine and Russia were involved in a bitter pricing spat at the start of the year, which was only resolved when the two countries' leading energy companies came to an agreement that also involved little-known trader Rosukrenergo.

Alexandr Bolkysev, Naftogaz's acting chairman of the board, said, "We are holding talks with Rosukrenergo to keep the current price on supplied natural gas at $95 for 1,000 cubic meters until 2011."

On February 2, Rosukrenergo announced it had formed a joint Russian-Ukrainian natural gas distribution venture on a parity basis with Naftogaz - Ukrgazenergo - which had received a license to supply 5.04 billion cu m of gas per year to Ukraine at $95 per 1,000 cu m for a period of five years.

However, Russian energy giant Gazprom, which owns 50% Rosukrenergo's charter capital, recently said it may raise the price for gas supplied to Ukraine as of July 1.

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