Ukraine must pay for unused gas ordered under its 2009 contract with Russia, despite announcing its intention to cut imports to 27 bln cu m, below its contracted minimum of 33 bln cu.m. Gazprom head Alexei Miller said on Wednesday, according to RIA Novosti.
"Ukraine intends to take less gas than stipulated in the contract," Miller said in a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday. "The stated figure is 27 billion cubic meters," he said, adding that he was worried that Ukraine`s declaration was unilateral.
"In case of non-use, the conditions are - you must pay for unused gas," Miller said.
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. Kiev insists on reducing both the price and volume of its gas imports.
Miller has previously stated that Ukraine`s energy company Naftogaz Ukraina was obliged to pay Gazprom for delivery of not less than 33 billion cubic meters a year for the contracted period.
Miller`s remark comes in the wake of a statement made by Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko earlier on Wednesday that Ukraine was seeking to slash Russian natural gas purchases to 27 billion cubic meters in 2012 from 40 billion cu m last year. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych said last September the country had sent Gazprom a request to buy only 27 billion cubic meters this year.
Miller said Ukraine should have come to an agreement with Russia on a reduction in gas purchases at least six months before the contracted period.
“Ukraine made an announcement that it had not come to an agreement with Russia. Such agreements have to be made six months ahead. Such was the unilateral statement which came from the Ukrainian side,” he said.
Medvedev said Gazprom should act in a civilized manner to resolve the dispute with Ukraine, adding that in any way Russia had a solid contractual base "to work further with our Ukrainian partners while continuing discussions on future gas cooperation."
Gazprom shares were trading lower on the MICEX stock exchange on Wednesday as investors showed concern over the renewed tensions between Moscow and Kiev on the gas issue.