The chief executive of Russia's Gazprom, Alexei Miller, said Monday that his company and Naftogaz of Ukraine won't be signing an agreement on natural-gas prices by Dec. 31, Ukrainian news website Zerkalo Nedeli reported.
"There will be no New Year's gifts," Miller told journalists at a meeting that included Gazprom Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev and management committee members Yaroslav Golko (head of investment and construction) and Vsevolod Cherepanov (head of gas, gas condensate and oil production).
The Russian giant had indicated that negotiations with Naftogaz were progressing favorably and would likely yield an agreement by year's end. News reports quoted Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych as predicting on Nov. 24 that Ukraine and Russia would reach a gas-pricing accord by Dec. 31.
On Saturday (Dec. 10), Zerkalo Nedeli reported that a draft agreement proposing the formation of two joint ventures with Gazprom was submitted to Russian and Ukrainian officials. Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov ordered the preparation last week of a 2012 budget for Ukraine that reflects prices of imported gas no higher than $400 per 1,000 cubic meters, the website said.
The first venture would involve gas transit pipelines and underground reservoirs. Once in operation, the venture would take on European energy companies as shareholders, with Naftogaz retaining 34 percent to Gazprom's 33 percent. The second Gazprom-related venture would be a domestic Ukrainian gas distributor formed from networks now leased by regional distribution companies. Gazprom would have 50 percent of that venture, Zerkalo Nedeli cited sources as saying.
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