30 Jul 2009 17:23

Ukraine likely to get IMF loan in return for gas reforms

BRUSSELS. July 30 (Interfax) - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to release the next $3.3 billion tranche of a loan for Ukraine in return for a plan and schedule of reforms in the country's natural gas industry that the Ukrainian prime minister announced on Wednesday.

European Commission spokesman Mark Gray, at a briefing in Brussels on Thursday, confirmed that Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko had presented the Commission and international financial institutions with a list of commitments concerning gas sector reforms and a time schedule for the reforms.

The European Commission has been working for a long time to offset the risk of a new gas row between Ukraine and Russia, which has become greater because of current Ukrainian problems, Gray said.

The Commission hailed Ukraine's gas reform plan and that the plan would be discussed with international financial bodies on Thursday, he said. Gray added that he believed the debate would end in an agreement.

A technical mission is due to arrive in Ukraine soon to check the country's underground gas depots to see whether it would make sense to provide Ukraine with a loan to pay for Russian gas, another European Commission spokesman, Ferran Tarradellas, told reporters on Thursday.

European Commissioner for Energy Andris Piebalgs sent a letter to that effect to Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Minister Yury Prodan, Tarradellas said.

as rp