Naftogaz, Ukraine's national oil and gas company, will pay off in full its gas debt to trader Rosukrenergo by mid-October, the Ukrainian fuel and energy minister said Tuesday, RIA Novosti reported.

The trader, which handles Russian and Central Asian natural gas and is 50% owned by Russian energy giant Gazprom, earlier said it had received $49.6 million from Naftogaz as payment for gas consumed last winter above the volumes stipulated by contract. The remaining gas debt is $322.4 million, Rosukrenergo said.

"I believe this [full debt repayment] will take place in mid-October," Yuriy Boiko said.

Rosukrenergo became the focal point of a deal to end a bitter gas price spat between Ukraine and Gazprom in January. The Russian energy giant cut supplies to Ukraine but then said European consumers had reported shortfalls in natural-gas supplies traveling through two pipelines across Ukrainian territory, which led to accusations of siphoning.

Under the deal to settle the dispute, Ukraine pays $95 per 1,000 cubic meters of mixed gas from Russia and Turkmenistan. The pricing formula is based on a rate of $230 for Russian gas and $60 for the Central Asian republic's gas under a January deal for the first half of 2006.


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