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Ukraine to resume Russian natural gas imports by end-March

Staff Writer |
Ukraine will resume imports of Russian natural gas before the end of March, Andriy Kobolev, the head of national energy company Naftogaz Ukrayiny, said.

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"We will start buying Russian gas as soon as the first quarter," Kobolev told reporters. "This is our intention."

The comment shows Ukraine will seek to capitalize on low gas prices given the contango in the oil-indexed contract formula.

Ukraine suspended imports of Russian gas in November 2015 due to a dispute over prices and supply volumes. Imports will resume following a recent ruling by the Stockholm arbitration court that lowered mandatory imports and also lowered gas prices.

The Stockholm court is expected to rule on a high-stakes gas transit dispute between Naftogaz and Gazprom by the end of February.

Naftogaz is expecting to import up to 5 Bcm of gas Russian gas in 2018 below European gas prices, Kobolev said.

However, Ukraine will also continue to import European gas in order to keep import sources diversified, he said.

Meanwhile, Naftogaz and Gazprom will soon begin negotiations aimed at implementing the recent Stockholm court ruling, Yuriy Vitrenko, the commercial director at Naftogaz, said Wednesday.

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