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On 8 January 2008 the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor wrote in a dispatch published on the WikiLeaks website, "(Former Prime Minister Yulia) Tymoshenko has declared her intention to remove the RosUkrEnergo and the Ukrgazenergo companies as intermediaries on the gas market. This is the aim the USA have always supported."
Taylor’s cable also contained remarks on limiting the volumes of gas supplies for Ukrgazenergo, a joint venture of the Ukrainian oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrayiny and RosUkrEnergo companies, by the National Commission for Energy Regulation to 5 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2008, in comparison to the 2007 level of 40 billion cubic meters, Ukrainian news agency UNIAN reported.
The U.S. embassy in the capital Kiev believed that Ukrgazenergo de facto monopoly of direct supplies to industrial companies resulted in substantial losses for Naftohaz Ukrayiny which also did not receive any dividends from Ukrgazenergo though it owned a 50-per-cent stake in the joint venture.
Critics allege that Tymoshenko, as an oligarch, gained her fortune improperly. Tymoshenko is currently on trial over terms of a Russian natural-gas contract she signed in 2009 while Prime Minister, in which Ukrainian authorities accuse her of abusing her position by signing. If convicted, Tymoshenko faces up to 10 years in prison.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com
Joao is a writer for Oilprice.com