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Gazprom demand compensation from Naftogaz
January 28, 2013, 1:49 pm

[Getty Images]

[Getty Images]

Russia’s Gazprom has sent a $7 billion bill to Ukraine’s state-run gas firm Naftogaz as compensation for having imported less gas than the minimum “take or pay” clause stipulates.

In 2012 Kiev imported 24.9 billion cubic metres of gas instead of 52 billion as agreed in the contract between Kiev and Moscow.

According to the treaty of 2009, Ukraine may lower the amount of gas imported by 20 per cent, up to 41.6 billion cubic metres – in this case it will not be subject to any penalties.

However, the other 80 per cent of the supply is subject to a ‘”take or pay” agreement.

Nevertheless Naftogaz claims they warned Moscow about the planned decrease in consumption in 2012.

Gazprom in turn says Ukraine should have warned it at least six months ahead.

Currently Ukraine is trying to lower the amount if gas it imports to 27 billion cubic metres, as well as the price of gas.

Kiev is also working on finding alternative sources of gas supply.

Last week during the visit of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s visit to Davos the country signed a $10 billion shale gas deal with Royal Dutch Shell.

“We have witnessed a great event today. I believe we have become almost relatives,” President Yanukovych said.

Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov said the Kremlin is quite unlikely to get involved into the conflict situation.

“Fulfilling the contract obligations is necessary. That’s a corporate question. Gazprom is a seller, Naftogaz is a buyer. And the Kremlin has nothing to comment on here,” – Peskov has explained.

All the other financial obligations have been met in time.

But if Ukraine does not pay the forfeit Gazprom can ask for arbitrage and is likely to win the trial.

Analyst now say the situation might be called the ‘Third Gas War’.

In 2006 Gazprom cut off supplies when the sides clashed over prices and fees.

Ukraine demanded higher transit fees and Gazprom in turn asked for higher prices on gas consumed in Ukraine.

In 2009 Ukraine accumulated debts over $3 billion.

The supply was cut off again and resumed two weeks later as Ukraine signed agreements and new terms of price-formation with Russia.

Then the countries signed a 10 year contract stipulating the consumption of 52 billion cubic metres of gas on take-or-pay terms.

Daria Chernyshova