MOSCOW, August 26 (RIA Novosti) - Ukraine’s national oil and gas company Naftogaz has returned the recent $10.5 million advance payment Russia’s Gazprom made for gas transit through Ukraine, despite Gazprom claims the previous payment had been exhausted, Naftogaz said in a press release published Tuesday.
“The situation is related to the difference between the companies’ valuations of the transit rate through Ukrainian territory. Earlier, Gazprom transferred an advance payment for transit services. The transit rate calculation formula takes into account the price for the gas supplied by the Russian party. According to Naftogaz estimates, the advance has not been fully spent,” the press release reads.
Gazprom has not yet commented on the refunded advance payment.
Gazprom’s payments for gas transit through Ukraine made in 2012-2013 were expected to cover the period up to January 2015. However, after Gazprom cancelled the discount that used to be given in exchange for the presence of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, the price of gas used to calculate transit rates skyrocketed to $485 per thousand cubic meters.
Gazprom noted that the contract with Naftogaz implied pegging transit rates to gas prices, hence, the transit rate should have increased starting April 1. Last week, Gazprom representative Sergei Kupriyanov said the advance payment covered only a half of 2014, through part of July, requiring the Russian gas giant to pay an extra $10.5 million. Once received, Naftogaz replied that it considered Gazprom’s payment mistaken and planned to return it.
Kiev has not recognized the increase in gas prices from Russia and has refused to pay the new prices. Naftogaz’s almost $5.3 billion gas debt caused Gazprom to introduce a prepayment system for gas deliveries to the country on June 16. Since then, Russia has used Ukraine only as a transit territory for gas deliveries to Europe.