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"Hit-or-miss" gas policy threatens Ukrainian economy

      RBC, 16.08.2007, Moscow 17:30:41.The Ukrainian government's gas supply policy threatens the country's economic well being, Presidential Chief of Staff Viktor Baloga announced. According to his data, the Ukrainian company Naftogaz owns only 2.2bn cubic meters of natural gas in the underground storages. As the country has no significant hydrocarbon reserves, gas monopolies would able to dictate exorbitant prices to the government next winter, he added.

      Baloga accused the cabinet of sanctioning cuts in gas production by 6.9 percent, compared to the same period a year earlier, as the government was unable to find common ground with Russia on gas prices for 2008. Ukraine is facing serious problems, as winter approaches, and still does not know the price it will have to pay, he added.

      The Chief of Staff believes there are plenty of unresolved issues that pose a real threat to the economy, including the conditions of gas transit and storage in Ukraine, which are expected to be addressed at the next meeting with the President and the Prime Minister.

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