4 Sep 2019 16:32

Kyiv says ready for trilateral gas talks with Russia, EU in September

KYIV. Sept 4 (Interfax) - A Ukrainian delegation to be led by Energy and Environment Protection Minister Oleksiy Orzhel is prepared for trilateral negotiations with the European Union and Russia on the transport of Russian natural gas across Ukraine as early as in September, the ministry's press service said.

"The Ukrainian delegation which I lead is willing to take part in trilateral gas talks as early as this month," the press service quoted Orzhel as saying.

The minister made this statement in a telephone call with Vice President of the European Commission for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic. Among other things, the parties discussed the Naftogaz unbundling process and the need for its soonest possible completion.

It had been earlier reported that the ten-year contract between Naftogaz and Russia's Gazprom on the transport of Russian gas across Ukraine would expire on January 1, 2020. Gazprom is actively promoting the Nord Stream 2 and TurkStream pipeline projects for the delivery of Russian gas to Europe. The previous trilateral meetings between Ukraine, the EU, and Russia to address the matter did not produce any results. The new Ukrainian government is currently working on a model and timeframe of the Ukrainian gas transport system's separation from Naftogaz. Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said on August 30 that the issue of Naftogaz's unbundling could be settled soon.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said earlier on Wednesday that Russia, Ukraine, and the EU were about to agree upon a date of trilateral talks on shipments of Russian gas to Ukraine and its transport across Ukraine to the EU.

"Our counterparts and we should discuss a date for such a meeting in the near future. Upon returning from a business trip to Vladivostok, I'll get in touch with our counterparts and fix a time for such a meeting. We agreed preliminarily before that such a meeting would be in September. We should agree on a particular date acceptable to all the three parties," Novak told journalists in Vladivostok.