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Gazprom, Naftogaz to Reinvigorate Venture

Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy plan to ask the Ukrainian government to amend legislation so that foreign companies can manage Ukraine's gas pipelines, a Gazprom executive said Friday.

Such amendments would give Gazprom the option of investing in Ukraine's gas routes as part of its consortium with Naftogaz, said Anatoly Podmyshalsky, who heads Gazprom's department for operations in former Soviet republics.

“It would be possible to sit down and determine, in a concerned manner, the amount of gas to transport over a significant time in the future,” he said at a conference in Kiev, Interfax reported.

If Russia's gas monopoly and Ukraine's national energy company can co-manage the pipelines, Gazprom would have a clearer idea of which routes it should leave as they are, upgrade or mothball, Podmyshalsky added.

He said the companies decided to request the amendment at a convention of consortium representatives earlier this month.

The "50-50 International Consortium" for Ukraine's gas transit dates to 2004, when it was created by the companies under an agreement between the nations' governments.

Initially, the companies aimed to build a 234-kilometer Bogorodchany-Uzhgorod pipeline to carry 19 billion cubic meters of gas west each year. But that effort was laid aside after anti-Kremlin politician Viktor Yushchenko became president in 2005.

Ukraine's new president, Viktor Yanukovych, has warmed to the idea of an international consortium to run and upgrade the country's gas pipelines. This year's transit of Gazprom's gas through Ukraine is set to outpace last year's, figures indicate.

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