The Russian energy and industry minister said Thursday that it would be impractical to replace RosUkrEnergo as the intermediary in gas agreement between Russia and Ukraine struck at the start of the year, but did not rule out the idea completely.

"It could be replaced but only with another structure that is clear to all parties," Viktor Khristenko said, RIA Novosty reported.

RosUkrEnergo, 50% of which is owned by a subsidiary of Russian gas giant Gazprom while the other 50% is held by Austria's Raiffeisen Bank, was chosen to form a joint venture with Ukrainian national energy company Naftogaz under a January 4 deal that ended a bitter dispute over gas prices between Russia and Ukraine.

Khristenko said the current format was regulated by the contract, and replacement of the present structure could complicate things further.

"Under the agreements, RosUkrEnergo is a trader working mostly with gas from Central Asia [including Turkmenistan] and a structure operating on Ukrainian and Western markets," the minister said.

Khristenko reminded journalists that Gazprombank, Gazprom's subsidiary, owned 50% of RosUkrEnergo, the sole supplier of Russian and Turkmen gas to Ukraine.


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