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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ukraine to Pay for Gas on Time Through 2009

KIEV — Naftogaz will pay on time for Russian gas imports of 7.6 billion cubic meters until the end of the year and avoid any energy rows with Russia, Oleh Dubyna, the head of the Ukrainian state energy firm, said on Friday.

The November and December gas volumes bring a total this year of 27 bcm, much lower than an initially contracted 40 bcm because Ukraine's crippled economy needs less energy.

Rows between Kiev and Moscow over gas volumes, prices and debts have led to supply cuts to Europe, which gets a fifth of its gas from Russia via Ukraine.

Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom relaxed contract obligations on Naftogaz earlier this week allowing it also to buy 33.75 bcm next year rather than the 52 bcm that had been agreed in January.

"We will settle our November and December bills on time as usual," Dubyna told journalists.

"I am going to celebrate the New Year at home. And you will celebrate the New Year at home, and the entire country will celebrate the New Year with gas in their homes," he added.

Russia cut off gas to Ukraine on New Year's Day after the two countries failed to agree on a price for this year and later cut supplies to Europe also after accusing Kiev of stealing gas that was meant for transit, an accusation denied by Ukraine.

The two countries have tried to ease fears of another "gas war" this winter ahead of a presidential election in Ukraine on Jan. 17.

Naftogaz's purchases of gas to the end of the year indicate a bill of $1.58 billion for the company, which is ailing financially and needs constant government support. The price it pays this quarter for gas is $208.12 per 1,000 cubic meters.

Dubyna also said Ukraine could import as little as 27 bcm of gas next year after Russia's concessions made on Tuesday because the 33.75 bcm volumes contracted have a 20 percent leeway.

He said Ukraine would buy 7 bcm in the first quarter of next year and that the price had not yet been set.