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Ukraine Expects New Gas Deal With Russia by End of Next Week

A pressure gauge, pipes and valves are pictured at a boosting compressor station (BCS) on the East Poltava gas field near the village of Kovalivka, in Poltava region.

KIEV — Ukraine expects to reach a new winter gas deal with Moscow by the end of the next week, its energy minister said on Tuesday, adding that he saw $220 per 1,000 cubic meters as an acceptable price for supplies from Russia.

The two countries, which are embroiled in a gas pricing dispute, are expected to meet with the European Commission soon to decide an agreement for the winter months. Russia accounts for about a third of Europe's gas needs, with Ukraine a key transit route.

"I think there will be a decision in the course of this week and next week," Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said at a press briefing.

He said the price agreed in a 2009 deal with Russian state gas producer Gazprom, of $252 per 1,000 cubic meters, no longer reflected market prices.

"We are prepared to pay market prices … $250 minus $30 is a price that would be seen positively by our consumers," he said.

Moscow and Kiev agreed last year on a winter package for supplies with a price discount of $100 per thousand cubic meters and advance payments. That agreement expired on July 1 and has yet to be replaced.

Demchyshyn said Ukraine would not need to buy any Russian gas if it manages to store 19 billion cubic meters (bcm) in underground storage by the start of the winter season in mid-October.

As of Sept. 14 Ukraine had collected 15 bcm in reserves and was pumping about 49 million cubic meters of gas into storage every day, gas transport monopoly Ukrtransgaz said on Monday.

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