The head of Ukraine's national gas company Naftogaz asked Gazprom on Wednesday to lend it "technical gas" in amounts necessary for the normal operation of the Ukrainian gas transportation system.

"I have sent both a technical protocol and a protocol on our request to lend us technical gas until our price relations are settled to provide for the operation of the gas transportation system," Oleh Dubyna said.

Dubyna said Ukraine had no way to keep the country's gas transportation system operating normally, adding that after Russia halted gas supplies to Ukraine on January 1 over failed negotiations on a new supply contract, gas reserves in Ukraine's underground storage facilities were sufficient only to meet Ukraine's limited gas requirements.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko earlier said Ukraine had gas in its underground storage facilities that would last for a year.

Ukraine needs 21 million cubic meters of technical gas a day to ensure the normal operation of its gas transportation system.


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