Head of "Neftegas Ukraini" NSC pleased with cooperation with Turkmenistan
Less than a month remains until the date scheduled for signing of the agreement on creation of a consortium, which is to get right for management of gas-transport system of Ukraine. However the probability that Vladimir Putin and Leonid Kuchma will undersign the document on October 7 is decreasing noticeably. The parties cannot solve the principal issue on share participation in the consortium as well as on prospects of its founders' extension.
Head of "Neftegas Ukraini" (Oil-gas of Ukraine) NSC Yuri Boyko commented the main problems of Russian-Ukrainian gas cooperation to Svetlana Stepanenko, correspondent of "Vremya Novostey" (Time of News) newspaper in Kiev:
- What is your prediction? Will the agreement on creation of the consortium be signed by October 7?
- I think the answer is yes. The rough preparation has been actually finished. We have fixed positions at the level of experts. The main issue is the share of parties in the consortium. According to our project Ukraine should hold 50% plus one share, however it is subject to negotiations of heads of the countries.
- Will Germany be among founders of the consortium as it was supposed from the very beginning?
- I am not authorized to speak about it.
- Will Ukraine invest its GTS in the authorized fund of the consortium?
-We cannot speak about anything certain until the intergovernmental agreement is signed. Currently the State Property Fund assesses the cost of GTS. It will be clear what Ukraine, Russia and other partners of the consortium can invest only after all components of experts' decisions are summed up. "Innogate" company, which was independent earlier, estimated the GTS at USD 13.8 bln. However, it does not mean that "Neftegas" accepts the mentioned sum.
- A week and a half ago you met with Alexey Miller, head of "Gasprom". What did you agree about?
- We spoke about current cooperation, international consortium and transfer of "Neftegas" bonds to "Gasprom". Head of "Gasprom" treated with understanding all the problems. We seriously advanced in solution of the problem on bonds' transfer to the consortium. Earlier the transaction had failed because of high taxes. "Gasprom" should have paid about USD 600 mln to the Russian budget. Current efforts aim at seeking for a scheme allowing to minimize taxes not violating the legislation. Three schemes were considered; none of them was accepted. According to one of them, for instance, the taxes should be shifted to shoulders of "Neftegas" which is unacceptable. There will be negotiations at the governmental level by September 16.
- "Gasprom" representatives have stated in the Russian mass media that they would like to pay for Russian gas transit by bonds of "Neftegas". Was there any proposal by Mr. Miller to pay by the securities also for use of Ukrainian underground gas storages?
- No, there was not. The money Ukraine will get for use of underground storages (such agreement was signed with "Gasprom" for the first time) will be used for additional investments. As of present, volumes, terms of payment, schedule of gas selection, which "Gasprom" schedules to inject, have been completely defined (the total volume is 3 bln cubic meters, monthly pumping is 300-400 mln cubic meters). The terms are mutually profitable.
- Will Ukraine re-export gas? If yes, at what volumes and on what terms?
- Presently Ukraine has large gas volumes. Thus, 34-36 bln cubic meters of gas is bought from Turkmenistan, 26 bln is the payment for Russian gas transit and 18 bln is the own production. For the first time there is a gas surplus- about 6 bln cubic meters of gas of "Turkmen" origin, which is an obvious advantage from the political viewpoint. "Neftegas" intends to sign an export contract in September; the preliminary consent with "Gasprom" representatives has been already reached.
- What can you say about decrease of export duties for gas, which Ukraine is going to sell? How much will it decrease?
- This issue is at the stage of negotiations that is why it is early to speak about a certain sum.
- Have you any plan for pipe reconstruction and have you submitted it for consideration of "Gasprom"?
- Undoubtedly, yes. This plan has not been considered with representatives of Russia yet. It is already seven years as only one thirds of GTS needs is financed which causes concern of Russians regarding the discipline of transit agreements' realization. "Neftegas" is ready to find means inside the country for technical support of GTS. For this purpose "Neftegas" tries to decrease the tax on Russian gas transit, which is levied from it, from 2.2 bln to 1.2 bln hrivnas.
- Cooperation with which countries is perspective for "Neftegas" in the sphere of gas?
- We are going to open a representation office in Libya at the end of the year. It will become a starting point for spreading activity on the whole continent. Our delegation will leave for Sudan by the end of October. "Ust-Urt" deposit in Uzbekistan is given to us for exploration. Besides, "Neftegas" plans to take part in the project on reconstruction of Uzbek plant on liquefied gas production. Ukrainian experts have visited the western beach of Amudaria (Turkmenistan) to investigate prospects of the territory exploration (it also refers to oil production).
- "Neftegas" became the reform initiator in the domestic market. What is its essence of it?
- The only goal is to deliver gas to the final consumer, preventing price growth by traders. The competition, which was created by mediators was based on schemes of avoiding taxing and has nothing common with the civilized rules of game. "Neftegas" will turn to complete price control in the nearest future and then will start a civilized liberalization.