KIEV, June 17 (RIA Novosti) — The overall volume of reverse gas deliveries from the EU to Ukraine could reach 15 billion cubic meters annually, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Tuesday.
"Our delegation is currently working on the EU, we have begun a so-called new reverse, the volume is insufficient in order to supply the country with gas. The overall volume of gas deliveries from the EU may reach 15 billion cubic meters," Yatsenyuk said.
The head of Ukraine’s state-run oil and gas company Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolev, earlier said he hoped to start reverse gas deliveries by September. The CEO said deliveries would travel via an alternate route, as the previously discussed reverse supplies from Slovakia were "under tense negotiations both with the European Commission and the Slovak operator" as violating contract agreements between Slovak pipeline operator Eustream and Russia’s Gazprom.
Naftogaz is currently planning test gas purchases from the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline from Hungary, where gas volumes are 11-12 million cubic meters per day, with a maximum capacity of 14.6 million cubic meters.
Under the current agreements, Ukraine can receive just 6.5 billion cubic meters through the reverse route from the EU next year. Larger volumes are possible only via Slovakia, and with Gazprom consent.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier Russia had nothing against Slovakia transporting reverse gas deliveries to Ukraine.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, however, said Monday reverse gas deliveries to Ukraine would be illegal as "the owner of Russian gas in the Ukrainian pipeline doesn’t change" and "the supply point of Russian gas is outside the territory of Ukraine."
Ukraine currently holds 11.5 billion cubic meters of unpaid Russian gas in underground storage facilities, Miller said.
Gazprom halted gas deliveries to Ukraine Monday morning and switched to an advance payment system with Naftogaz due to the Ukrainian company’s $4.5-billion debt, which has been building at a rate of some $1 billion per month, and a long-term dispute over gas prices.
Gazprom assured European recipients of the gas that flows through Ukraine that European gas deliveries would not be affected, and has continued the daily flow of 185 million cubic meters intended for transit to Europe via Ukraine.