The Government’s gas policy poses a threat to the nation’s economic interests, President Viktor Yushchenko’s chief of staff, Viktor Baloha, said on Thursday, President’s press office reports.

“The Cabinet of Ministers is tirelessly boasting it has 20 billion cubic meters of gas in its underground depots but, in fact, almost 16 billion cubic meters of this gas belong to non-resident companies: 7 billion to RosUkrEnergo and 8.8 billion to UkrGazEnergo, whereas Naftogaz has only 2.2 bln of this amount.”

“It turned out that we have no hydrocarbon reserves in the country. What is kept in our underground depots does not belong to us. Gas monopolists can set enormous prices. The country might be facing a tough and exhausting price dictate this winter because of the egregious incompetence of the energy ministry,” he said, adding that this may baffle the Government’s plans to prepare the public utility sector for winter colds.

Baloha also criticized the Government for producing less gas than last year and failing to hold constructive gas talks with the Russian Federation.

“…It’s August now but the country does not know how much it will be paying for gas next year,” he said, adding that all such delays“weaken" the country and make it more"yielding.”

He said these problems would soon be discussed at a meeting involving President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yanukovych.


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