21 Mar 2009

New Ukraine gas row looms - gas trader

5:44 am on 21 March 2009

Ukraine is heading towards a new gas dispute with Russia that could disrupt European Union supplies according to an intermediary company.

European customers were left without gas for almost two weeks in January after a row over unpaid gas bills between Russia and Ukraine. A fifth of the gas supply for the European Union is piped through Ukraine.

RosUkrEnergo, a Swiss-based gas trader, said on Friday that the state gas company in Ukraine, Naftogaz, could again have trouble finding the money to pay for higher prices that Russia is now charging.

However, Naftogaz said it saw no problems with payments to Gazprom.

RUE is owned by Gazprom and two Ukrainian businessmen.