Russia and Ukraine drop reciprocal claims on gas
Starting from January 1, Russia and Ukraine will cancel mutual claims while asset seizures will be lifted, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said.
"We have agreed to start from scratch on January 1, reciprocal claims will be nullified, property seizures will be lifted due to court rulings in legal claims,” the minister said.
"A contract will be signed between Gazprom and Naftogaz for providing services as an entity that will act as the organizer of transit. These are commercial agreements which are mutually beneficial," TASS cited him as saying.
Moscow and Kiev sealed a gas cooperation protocol on December 20 to secure Russian gas transit after expiration of the current contract. Russia’s Gazprom said last week it would settle court disputes with Ukraine’s Naftogaz, and anti-monopoly disputes with the Ukrainian government by December 29.
Under the new protocol, Naftogaz should reserve capacities for transporting 65 billion cubic meters of gas in 2020 and 40 billion cubic meters annually in 2021-2024.
The protocol also includes legal dispute settlement arrangements. Gazprom will have to pay Naftogaz $2.9 billion in compliance with the Stockholm arbitration ruling and the sides will have to sign an agreement on dropping lawsuits for which there is no final decision. The Ukrainian government will have to ink a settlement agreement with Gazprom on $7.4 billion in antitrust claims.
A leading analyst of the National Energy Security Fund, a lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Igor Yushkov, speaking to Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that we can be confident that Naftogaz will not make new claims to Gazprom in the coming year.
"However, the Crimean issue has remained outside the brackets - there Naftogaz may demand Russia to pay for the loss of assets,” Igor Yushkov drew attention.
The expert added that Gazprom and Naftogaz have not yet agreed on transit tariffs. "Ukraine's Ministry of Energy said that the country will receive $15 billion for 5 years of transit, and this is almost a fixed rate - but then there is no compromise. After all, it turns out that Gazprom will have to pay $3 billion for pumping 65 billion cubic meters per year, and then only 40 billion cubic meters per year, while now it pays the same money for 90 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Therefore, we must wait until official tariffs are announced. So far, the positive result for Russia is that Gazprom will fulfill its contractual obligations to Europe this heating season," the lecturer at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation concluded.