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Russia, Ukraine To Discuss Latest Gas Dispute By End-March

Ukraine’s state-held gas company Naftogaz and Russia’s gas giant Gazprom will meet by the end of March to discuss the new dispute over gas supplies between the two countries, the Ukrainian company said on Twitter.

At the end of February, the Stockholm arbitration court ruled in favor of Naftogaz in the payment dispute with Gazprom, ordering the Russian company to pay Naftogaz US$2.56 billion for failing to supply Ukraine with the agreed amount of natural gas over a period of several years and also for failing to pay the full transit fees for the gas it did pump in that direction.

Hours after the court ruling, a fresh gas dispute flared up after Naftogaz said that Gazprom had not stood by its commitment to resume gas supplies, forcing Ukraine to reduce gas usage amid Arctic temperatures. The new rift comes after years of bitter disputes between the gas companies of Russia and Ukraine, exacerbated by the 2014 Russian annexation of Crimea.

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Gazprom, for its part, expressed its disagreement with the Stockholm arbitration ruling and said that “Gazprom will defend its rights through all means available under applicable legislation.”

Gazprom wants to terminate the contracts with Naftogaz, while the Ukrainian company said on Twitter that it “sees no need to cancel the contracts” and at the upcoming meeting by the end of March, the parties would discuss Naftogaz’s proposal to revise the transit tariffs. The Stockholm court ruling will also be discussed, Naftogaz said, adding that “We expect payment.”

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Related: Is Another Oil Price War Looming?

Gazprom, on the other hand, thinks that “The Stockholm arbitration tribunal handed down an asymmetrical ruling that undermined the balance of interests between the parties to the two contracts – the contract for gas supplies to Ukraine and the transit contract,” Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, told Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev earlier this week.

“At this juncture, those contracts have become economically unsound, unviable for us, which is why Gazprom has decided to start the procedure to terminate the contracts through the Stockholm arbitration tribunal. We have already filed an appeal regarding the contract for gas supplies to Ukraine. Before the end of March, an appeal will be filed for the transit contract and proceedings will be initiated to terminate the contracts in accordance with established procedure,” Miller told the Russian prime minister.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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