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Gas accord between Russia, Ukraine, EU may further ensure gas transit

      RBC, 10.11.2010, Kiev 13:41:13.A three-way agreement between Ukraine, Russia and the EU may boost guarantees for reliable Russian natural gas transit through Ukraine's territory in Europe in the long term, Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov announced during a cabinet meeting today while commenting on the results of his visit to Austria on November 9. According to him, the problems with gas supplies to Europe in early 2009 that occurred because of the Russian-Ukrainian gas crisis are still fresh in the public's mind in Vienna. "That is why I officially assured Austria that Ukraine could guarantee undisturbed gas transit to Europe," the prime minister stated.

      He also indicated that during a meeting with OPEC authorities, he discussed the current trends in price changes for oil on international markets. "The government can now make more definite forecasts of macroeconomic figures for 2011, since the price for gas depends on oil prices," he said. At the same time, according to Azarov, the prices on oil and gas in the world are no longer directly tied together, thanks to the emergence of alternative sources of energy, including shale gas. He went on to state that the "formula for calculating the price of Russian gas for Ukraine contradicts the market conditions." Considering this, Ukraine is poised to insist on becoming an observer in the OPEC at the organization's next meeting.

      The next meeting between Ukraine, Russia and the EU on cooperation in the gas sector is set for November 22.

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