Ukraine's Naftogaz agrees on extra gas supplies from Russia

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KIEV, June 23 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine's national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy said Friday it had arranged to buy additional natural gas from Russia to build up the reserves in its underground storage system for the winter period.

The country experienced a severe shortage of gas during the cold spell last winter, after Russia's Gazprom temporarily cut off supplies in early January due to a pricing dispute.

"Our delegation has returned from Moscow where we agreed on additional supplies needed to pump 16.3 billion cu m into our underground gas reserves," Oleksandr Bolkisev, Naftogaz acting head, told journalists, adding that the company's negotiators had kept within the technical agreements signed previously.

Naftogaz said Wednesday it had achieved about a quarter of its storage target.

"As of June 22, 2006, a total of 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas has been pumped into Ukraine's underground gas depots," it said. "The gas volumes pumped in this June have exceeded the indicators planned for this period by 127 million cu m."

The company said the target reserve of 23.3 billion cu m of gas would be reached in full by October 15.

Romano Prodi, a former European Commissioner and current prime minister of Italy, one of the countries affected in January, said Tuesday that his country would do everything possible to help Ukraine set up a natural gas reserve.

Gazprom, Ukraine's main gas supplier, said recently it might further raise the gas price for the country from July 1.

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