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Gazprom could reduce gas supplies to Ukraine in Oct. over debt - 1

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Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] could reduce natural gas supplies to Ukraine in October if the country fails to settle its $1.3 billion debt, the Russian energy giant said in a press release Tuesday.
(Recasts para 3, adds details, background in paras 4-6)

MOSCOW, October 2 (RIA Novosti) - Gazprom [RTS: GAZP] could reduce natural gas supplies to Ukraine in October if the country fails to settle its $1.3 billion debt, the Russian energy giant said in a press release Tuesday.

"Taking into account... a systematic failure by Ukraine to keep to the current contracts, Gazprom will have to start cutting natural gas deliveries to Ukrainian consumers if the debt is not settled in October," the statement said.

Gazprom said it has notified its European partners of the problem. "The Russian side fully fulfills its part of the contract, but the Ukrainian side's debt for gas supplies is over $1.3 billion," the energy giant said, adding that Gazprom has reminded Ukraine many times that the debt should be settled as soon as possible, but to no avail.

"Gazprom hopes for constructive resolution of our Ukrainian partners' debt problem and will do everything possible to completely fulfill its commitments on export contracts," Gazprom said.

A bitter price dispute with Ukraine in early 2006 affected supplies to European consumers.

On January 1, 2007, the gas price for Ukraine was raised to $130 per 1,000 cubic metres from $95 per 1,000 cubic meters in 2006, and could grow in 2008 to $143 or more per 1,000 cubic meters.

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