Ukraine's national energy company Naftogaz will use a $2 billion loan from Gazprombank, the banking arm of Russia's gas giant Gazprom, to purchase additional gas for its gas storage facilities for future onward sale to Europe, Kommersant Ukraina business daily reported on Friday.
"We plan to purchase gas which could be used for further transportation to the European countries," a Naftogaz top official said.
Naftogaz said on Thursday it was going to take a $2 billion loan from Gazprombank to pay for Russian gas supplies provided by Gazprom. The seven-year loan will be taken to pay for 2012 gas supplies with a total servicing cost at $1.540 billion, including this year's servicing cost of $182.1 million.
"Gas prices [for Ukraine] will only grow in future. We expect the price will go up to $430 per 1,000 cubic meters in the second quarter from the current $416," a source in Ukraine's Energy Ministry told Kommersant.
"So it makes sense to buy up to one billion cubic meters of gas in advance at the current price and upload it to the gas storage facilities," the source added.
"From now on we will purchase reserve volumes of gas but we will sell it to European consumers and will be able to earn on this transaction," he added.
Russia and Ukraine have been embroiled in a drawn-out dispute over the price and volume of Russian gas purchased by Ukraine. Kiev insists the current price is too high, while Moscow is pushing for control of Ukraine’s gas transit system to Europe, as part of a deal to cut prices.
Kiev imported over 1.8 billion cubic meters of Russian gas in January 2012, while in February it had to increase purchases to 3.1 billion cu m due to the severe cold.
Gazprom faced problems this winter with extra supplies of the blue fuel to Europe as the company declined to store reserve gas volumes in Ukrainian gas storages.