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Ukraine plans to further reduce dependence on Russian gas

Ukraine has reduced gas purchases from Russia in recent years and will further cut them in 2013 by increasing...

Ukraine has reduced gas purchases from Russia in recent years and will further cut them in 2013 by increasing imports from Europe and boosting domestic gas production, President Viktor Yanukovych said here Thursday, according to Xinhua.

"In 2010 we bought some 41 billion cubic meters of gas, and this year we expect that gas purchases will stand at around 27 billion cubic meters," Yanukovych said during his meeting with local officials.

Yanukovych said Kiev will gradually replace Russian gas, which costs 400 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters, with cheaper fuel purchased on the European spot market.

Ukraine's own gas production, which increased to 21 billion cubic meters last year, may also help the post-Soviet country to reduce its heavy dependence on gas imports from Russia, Yanukovych noted.

Ukraine, Europe's fourth largest coal producer, is also seeking ways to increase the use of coal in the county's energy mix, the president added.

Ukraine is believed to be one of Europe's largest holders of shale gas with estimated reserves up to 1.5 trillion cubic meters. The country's coal reserves account for around 117 billion tons or four percent of the world's total.

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