by Jerome a Paris
Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 05:08:22 AM EST
EU says agreement on monitoring gas flow via Ukraine reached
BRUSSELS, January 9 (RIA Novosti) - The European Commission said on Friday a deal on monitoring gas transit via Ukraine has been reached. The move is aimed at fast restoration of gas supplies to the EU member states, the Commission said.
Russia ready to pay market price for gas transit via Ukraine - PM
NOVO-OGARYOVO, January 8 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to pay a market price for gas transit via Ukraine if Kiev pays a market price for supplies of Russian gas, the Russian prime minister said Thursday.
"We believe Ukraine should pay a market price, and we are ready to pay a market transit," Vladimir Putin told foreign journalists.
When you look at the numbers provided by Vladimir Putin in that article (an increase in the transit tariff from $1.6 to $3.4 per 1000 cubic meters per 100km), one can only notice that he is effectively reducing the net gas bill of Ukraine to Gazprom by the same amount that they wanted to increase it with respect to gas prices. That means, that just like every other year, Ukraine will get about 25 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in exchange for the transit of Russian gas to Europe, ie Gazprom gets no money for that volume.
Now, officially, all the gas sold to Ukraine (50 bcm) comes via RosUkrEnergo (about which questions are finally beginning ot be raised in the Western media). RUE is half-owned by Gazprom (thus the first 25 bcm of deliveries) and half by Centragas, officially owned by Ukrainian businessmen Firtash and Fursin. The real stakes are not what's happening with the 25 bcm provided by Gazprom, which generate no cash, it's what happens with the other half of the business.
There is no political, economic or diplomatic reason for that structure to be in place, both governments officially call for it to be dismantled, and yet, year in and year out, it remains. Why? Who is powerful enough to instrumentalize the official international policies of the two countries, and put them in the middle of an international crisis?
Maybe the EU could ask these questions, now that the urgency is fading?