Russia may offer a new gas pricing formula to Ukraine to help agree on prices acceptable for both sides, the Kommersant-Ukraine business daily reported on Wednesday, quoting a source close to the talks, according to RIA Novosti.
Ukraine has long been seeking to alter the terms of the 2009 gas deal it signed with Russia. The deal ties the price of gas to oil prices, which have risen strongly since 2009, boosting Ukraine`s gas bill. The contract says Ukraine must import no less than 33 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia.
Kiev insists on reducing both the price and the volume of gas imports. In the fourth quarter of 2011, Ukraine pays $400 per 1,000 cubic meters for Russian natural gas.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov flew to Moscow late on Tuesday where he held talks with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin through the night. The paper said the two sides finally reached agreement on a new gas contract.
"Russia did not offer a new price but suggested changing the pricing formula. Azarov went to Moscow with the hope that the final price will be from $200 to $250 per 1,000 cubic meters," the source told Kommersant-Ukraine.
Last week Kommersant business daily reported that Russian gas giant Gazprom might lower the gas price for Ukraine to $210-220 per 1,000 cu m, if Kiev sold part of its gas transportation system to Moscow.
Russia annually pumps about 100 billion cubic meters of gas to European countries via Ukraine, which makes up 80 percent of its total gas supplies to Europe.