Naftogaz is hopeful about the prospect of signing another gas deal with Gazprom following the expiration of the current “Winter Package” at the end of March.

Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev commented: "The trilateral meetings are a vital part of the process to agree conditions for Russian gas supplies to Ukraine after March 2015. Any temporary agreement is expected to be subject to the arbitral award in the on-going arbitration between Naftogaz and Gazprom under the auspices of the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. We thank Vice-President Sefcovic for organizing and supporting the constructive meeting between the parties."

Naftogaz has significantly diversified its gas supplies over the past 12 months:  In 2013, gas sourced from Russia accounted for 92% of total imports, with Europe accounting for just 8%. In 2014, Europe’s share of gas imports had risen to 26% of the total, with 74% coming from Russia. In the first two months of 2015 Ukraine imported 4.1 billion cubic meters of natural gas, 2.3 billion cubic meters from Europe (56%) according to the national gas transmission system operator Ukrtransgaz. Over the same period in 2014, Ukraine received 4.1 billion cubic meters for the needs of domestic consumers and the entire volume of gas was imported from Russia.

Although the situation this year is better than the previous year, not least due to regular reverse gas flows, especially from Slovakia to Ukraine, a gas deal with Gazprom is still important, as it adds liquidity and diversification to the gas market. Kobolyev adds: “Gas from the EU is currently offered at a lower price than gas from Russia, so from a commercial point of view, it makes more sense to source imports from Europe. That being said, if we can negotiate a satisfactory deal with Gazprom that makes Russian gas financially attractive to us, then we will be interested to source our gas from there as well. From a Naftogaz perspective, any decision we take is based purely on commercial principles”.