Kiev Seeks $2.5Bln Gas Pipe Upgrade

APYushchenko, center, walking with Aliyev on Thursday in Kiev. They agreed to discuss transporting Azeri oil to the EU.
KIEV — Ukraine is looking for $2.5 billion from the European Union to upgrade its natural gas pipeline system and increase the volume of fuel that can be shipped to the region, President Viktor Yushchenko said Thursday.

"Such plans will help to strengthen the energy security of all countries within the European Union," Yushchenko told the International Energy Forum in Kiev. The European Commission will consider the request for funding later this year, he said.

Around 125 billion cubic meters of gas passes through Ukraine every year to Europe. The country's pipeline capacity is 180 bcm, Yushchenko said.

The EU gets one-quarter of its gas from Russia, 80 percent of which is shipped across Ukraine. The country wants to raise fuel pipeline capacities to meet increased EU demand and help Western Europe to diversify sources, including gas from the Central Asian republics.

Ukraine is also looking to extend the Odessa-Brody pipeline to the Polish city of Gdansk, on the Baltic Sea.

The Ukrainian government pledged to ship oil from countries including Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan through the $500 million pipeline from Odessa to the town of Brody, in western Ukraine, this year. Russia currently pumps its oil via the pipeline to Europe.

In a news conference with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev, Yushchenko said Thursday that they would meet again in early July to discuss transportation of Azeri oil to the EU, Interfax reported. "For us … it's very important that we complete the project of delivering Caspian oil from Azerbaijan to the countries of the European Union," Yushchenko said, Interfax reported.