Energy and Environmental Protection Minister Oleksiy Orzhel has said that Ukraine is interested in buying gas directly from Russia at competitive prices.
"If we say that there can be other gas suppliers, not only Gazprom, but also other suppliers, a certain volume of import can be considered. We would be interested in receiving a certain volume of gas on a competitive basis," Orzhel said at a briefing on Friday.
He added that this is a matter of future consultations.
Orzhel emphasized that in this regard it is necessary to separate the political component from the economic one.
Since November 2015 Ukraine has stopped buying gas from Gazprom due to non-market prices. Gas is being imported from the west. Having abandoned Russian gas, Ukraine was able to begin reforming the gas market and corporate governance of its national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrayiny. The company for the first time in a long history has ceased to be unprofitable.
On 22 December 2017, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce decided that Naftogaz should resume purchases of Russian gas in the amount of at least 5bn cu.m. until the end of the contract.
At the end of February 2018, Naftogaz made an advance payment for March in order to resume deliveries from Russia, but Gazprom returned the money and sent Naftogaz Ukrainy a notice on the commencement of the termination of gas supply and transit contracts.
The existing contracts between Ukraine and Russia end on 31 December 2019. Russia demands to how much gas Ukraine wants to buy before agreeing on a transit contract because it supposedly depends on what capacity Gazprom must guarantee to supply gas to Ukraine.
The third round of trilateral gas consultations on transit through Ukraine took place in Brussels on 19 September.