Ukraine is ready to join the future Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project which will deliver natural gas to Europe from the Caspian Sea region bypassing Russia, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Wednesday.
“Ukraine is interested in the implementation of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline project, the construction of which is being studied by Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan,” Azarov said at a meeting with Azerbaijan's President Ilkham Aliyev in Baku.
The Trans-Caspian gas pipeline is expected to deliver gas from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan via Azerbaijan to Europe. Russia has objected to the project whilst the legal status of the Caspian Sea is defined.
Ukraine has for many years been locked in disputes with Russia over gas deliveries and prices, which has sometimes led to supplied to Europe being cut off.
Most recently it has been seeking to alter the terms of the 2009 gas deal it signed with Russia. The deal ties the price of gas to oil prices, which have risen strongly since 2009, boosting Ukraine's gas bill. Ukraine will have to pay some $416 per cubic meter of Russian gas in 2012.
Kiev insists the price and volume of its gas imports should be reduced. Ukraine has announced its intention to reduce purchases of Russian natural gas and seek alternative deliveries.