Ukraine Leader to Seek Turkmen Gas to Ease Reliance on Russia
- Feb. 11 2013 00:00
- Last edited 21:02
KIEV — The supply of Turkmen gas toáUkraineáwill be on the agenda during a visit toáTurkmenistanánext week byáUkraine's president, whose government is struggling to reduce its dependence on expensive Russian gas.
PresidentáViktor Yanukovych's visit will take place from Feb. 12 to Feb. 14, his office said Friday. Ukrainian Foreign MinisteráLeonid Kozhara, who traveled to Turkmenistanálast month to prepare the visit, said gas will be discussed.
Turkmenistanáused to sell gas toáUkraineáin the late 1990s and early 2000s, shipping it through Russian pipelines. But since 2009,áUkraineáhas been buying the fuel only fromáRussia's Gazprom.
The price of Russian supplies has been rising steadily, becoming a burden on the state budget and the economy because a 2009 contract between Gazprom and Ukraine'sáNaftogazálinked it to global energy prices.
Finding another supplier could be a quick solution foráUkraine, but only ifáKieváandáAshgabatáagree on a price andáMoscowáallows such shipments.
Ukrainian officials say a new free trade agreement signed last year by theáCommonwealth of Independent States, a club of ex-Soviet republics, obligesáRussia to allow shipments of Turkmen gas toáUkraineáat competitive rates.
ButáMoscowáhas yet to comment officially on the idea.
According to oil and gas firmáBP,áTurkmenistan's natural gas reserves are equal to those ofáSaudi Arabiaáand are smaller only than those ofáRussia, Iran and Qatar.