Ukraine Seeks New Natural Gas Suppliers in Central Asia

KIEV, Ukraine, Sept. 24 (UPI) — A top Ukrainian official said Ukraine should review its existing natural gas contract with Russia in order to purchase natural gas from Central Asia.

Izvestia reported Thursday that Bogdan Sokolovsky, Ukrainian presidential representative for international energy security issues, said that in his opinion, the Cabinet of Ministers should resolve the issue of transporting Turkmenistan natural gas bound for Ukraine via Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Russia.

Ukraine currently imports all of its natural gas from Russia, and in the last several years has been involved in pricing disputes with Moscow.

Urging his colleagues to look beyond the present arrangement to diversify Ukraine’s natural gas supplies Sokolovsky said, “Russia and Ukraine have the intergovernmental agreement of Oct. 4, 2001, which includes an item on transit of Russia’s gas via Ukraine. This document is effective in the period up to 2013,” an arrangement which he said causes “discomfort” for Ukraine as it constrains its supply options.

Europe is closely following the discussions, as the Russian cutoffs of gas last January led to shortages beyond Ukraine in Eastern Europe.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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