MOSCOW, November 14 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s gas giant Gazprom has heightened the risk level of Russian transit gas to Europe through Ukraine to “critical,” the company said in a report Friday.
“At the current moment, risks with the transit of natural gas through the territory of Ukraine have been raised to the critical level. This situation is tied with Ukraine’s Naftogaz’s arrears before Gazprom for gas delivered September 30, 2014, that stand at approximately $5.3 billion,” the report reads.
On October 30, during the final round of gas talks between Russia and Ukraine, brokered by the European Union, a so-called winter package agreement securing gas supplies to Ukraine until March was signed.
Under the agreement, Russia will resume the delivery of gas to Ukraine at a price of $378 per 1,000 cubic meters till the end of 2014 and $365 for the same amount in the first quarter of 2015, while Kiev must pay Gazprom $3.1 billion of its debt before the end of the year.
Ukraine is not only a consumer, but also a transit country for Russian gas. Around half of the Russian gas exported in 2013 crossed Ukraine, which amounts to approximately 15 percent of the total amount of gas consumed in Europe, according to the International Energy Agency.
In mid-September, Gazprom said that reliable gas transit to Europe was possible only if Ukraine's state-run gas company Naftogas observed the transit agreements with the Russian energy giant.
Gazprom switched Ukraine to a prepayment system for gas deliveries over its debt of more than $5 billion in June and warned that it would reduce gas supplies to Europe should Kiev siphon off gas transited to Europe through its territory.