Privatization of national joint stock company Naftogaz of Ukraine should be the final stage of its reform, according to Riccardo Puliti, managing director in charge of the energy and natural resources sectors at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

There should be no hurry about that; privatization is impossible without reform; transparency of solutions and adapting the legislative framework is much more important at the first stage, he stressed, UKRINFORM reported.

Puliti noted the importance of reforming Naftogaz, without which full-scale funding for modernization of the Ukrainian gas transportation system is impossible. He said both the EBRD, the European Commission, IMF and other international organizations and investors will closely monitor the Naftogaz reform process and contribute to its development.

According to managing director of the bank, Ukraine is very important for Europe. Suffice it to say that at present, Russian gas accounts 25% of Europe's gas balance, and about 80% of it goes through Ukraine, he said, adding, naturally, they are interested in the stability of supplies and that incidents that took place earlier would not repeat.

Puliti said that now the Ukrainian gas transport system requires modernization and the EBRD is ready to provide the necessary financial support for this project. In particular, it has already been decided to allocate $308 million for urgent repairs to the Urengoy-Pomary-Uzhgorod gas pipeline sector. At the same time, he acknowledged that much more funds will be needed.

The EBRD officer praised Ukraine's intention to split NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine into clear segments: production of hydrocarbons, their transportation and delivery to consumers. According to him, this should result in a transparent and predictable both by consumers and investors business. Most EU countries have already gone through this, and considerable experience has been accumulated, the representative of the EBRD said.

Earlier, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said that the European Commission planned to hold consultations with the EBRD, the EIB and the World Bank to begin financing modernization of the Ukrainian GTS. He predicts that a positive decision of the European financial institutions to allocate loans to Ukraine for upgrading its GTS will be taken at the end of 2011.

The company Mott MacDonald, which develops a feasibility study for modernization of Ukraine's GTS, estimates the necessary investment in the project at more than $3 billion.

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