A disagreement over natural gas prices delayed creation of a joint venture between Naftogaz Ukrainy and RosUkrEnergo, breaking a deadline set in a key gas supply deal between Ukraine and Russia.

Naftogaz sought assurance from RosUkrEnergo, a key gas supplier to Ukraine, that the gas price would stay unchanged during the next five years, 1+1 TV Channel reported Wednesday citing a source.

Naftogaz late Wednesday confirmed the joint venture had been postponed, but the company had refused to provide the reason for the delay.

Naftogaz and RosUkrEnergo were supposed to create no later than February 1 a 50-50 joint venture that would supply gas to industrial consumers in Ukraine.

The disagreement casts doubts on the deal signed January 4 to end a gas dispute between Ukraine and Russia as Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov has expected the price to stay unchanged during the next five years, Ukrainian journal informed.

Arseniy Yatseniuk, the economy minister, said Wednesday RosUkrEnergo has so far failed to provide sufficient guarantees that the prices will stay unchanged.

“I am absolutely not interested in who we sign the deal with,” Yatseniuk said. “But I am interested in Ukraine getting gas at $95/1,000 cu m during the next five years as has been declared, and enough to cover the entire demand,” he added.

Ukraine seeks to keep the prices unchanged during the next five years as any higher gas price would make chemical industry unprofitable and squeezing profits dramatically at the steel making sector.


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