The latest political tension in Ukraine centers ostensibly on a deal with Russia on pricing for natural gas, a complex and opaque accord signed on Jan 4 that is fiercely contested by the nation's opposition, Forbes reports.
Details of the gas pact have not officially been made public and accounts of its contents made public by media and politicians leave questions unanswered. Here are some key aspects of the accord that are in the public domain and some of the questions that remain unanswered about it:

- Ukraine agrees to import most of its natural gas from RosUkrEnergo, a Swiss-registered gas trading firm. This firm is controlled on a 50-50 basis by Gazprombank, a banking subsidiary of Russian energy giant Gazprom, and a trust fund administered by Austria's Raiffeisen Zentralbank on behalf of beneficiaries it has declined to name.

- Ukraine agrees to pay, for at least six months, a price of 95 usd per 1,000 cubic meters of natural gas it purchases from RosUkrEnergo. This represents nearly twice the 50 it paid until the end of last year, but is well short of the 230-usd 'European market rate' that Gazprom had been demanding.

- Russia agrees to pay for the next five years a fee of 1.60 usd per 1,000 cu m of gas for every 100 km that the gas transits through a pipeline network on Ukrainian territory. This figure is substantially higher than the 1.09 usd Russia paid until the end of last year.

- Middleman RosUkrEnergo in turn purchases natural gas from Gazprom at a rate of 230 usd per 1,000 cu m. This is the price Gazprom had sought from Ukraine and is only slightly below the European average gas price of 240 usd.

- In addition to buying gas from Gazprom at international market rates for resale to Ukraine, RosUkrEnergo also agrees to buy gas from Turkmenistan and two other ex-Soviet Central Asian republics -- Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan -- at the far lower price of around 55 usd per 1,000 cu m.

- The bulk of gas to be supplied to Ukraine will come from Turkmenistan and the price differential between the Russian gas and the Central Asian gas allows Ukraine to pay the fixed rate of 95 usd. It is of note that Gazprom owns the gas transport pipeline network in Turkmenistan.


- Who are the beneficiaries represented by the Austrian bank trust that controls half of RosUkrEnergo?

- How long does the 95-usd gas price apply for Ukraine? The Jan 4 accord stipulates only that this rate applies for the first six months of 2006, but Ukrainian officials say it will stick for at least a year and perhaps longer.

- How long does the 1.60-usd transit fee apply for Russia? The Jan 4 accord stipulates that it is in effect for five years, but Ukrainian officials say that if the gas price rises during this time the transit fee rises also.


Спасибо за Вашу активность, Ваш вопрос будет рассмотрен модераторами в ближайшее время