15 Dec 2009 19:08

Miller confident Ukraine will pay for December gas even though consumption rising

MOSCOW. Dec 15 (Interfax) - Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said he has no doubt that Ukraine will pay for December gas deliveries even though consumption is rising.

"Ukraine is increasing its gas consumption in December. There are two reasons why. It's colder now in Ukraine. That's the objective cause. The second reason is that beginning January 1, 2010 the gas price formula will be at the level of European and world prices. But there is confidence that Ukraine will pay for those deliveries even with the increase [in the amount it takes]," Miller said.

Miller recalled that Ukraine must pay in full by January 7. "However, in Ukraine, as is the case here, there are holidays. January 5 is a working day. I believe that the payment will be made in the beginning of January. We don't expect any conflicts on the payment end. There is no need for them to arise," Miller said.

In any case, no repeat of the gas conflict is foreseen, he said. "I think that Gazprom employees will be able to bring in the New Year at home, except of course those who are scheduled to work," he said.

The Russian and Ukrainian companies concerned have signed a 10-year contract. The only risk it will be annulled is if Ukraine fails to meet its payment commitments, Miller said. "The only risk is the risk associated with Ukraine's payment for gas deliveries. Despite the fact Ukraine has a difficult financial situation, it is making payments for gas on time and in full. There is no reason to believe that there might be a repeat of a critical situation," Miller said.