Another round of gas negotiations between Russia and Ukraine is planned on 17 January. The subject regards the price of the Russian energy resource. In Moscow, the guest of head of Gazprom Alexei Miller will be Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Boyko. In advance of the actual meeting with the Russian partners, the authorities in Kiev informed on a possible usage of other energy sources than gas.
On Friday, 13 January, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, while answering the question whether a new gas war with Russia is ahead of Ukraine, announced: “Why would we want a war against our Russian brothers? It’s an absurd question. But of course, we, as well as they, must attend to our own economic interests”. The head of the Ukrainian government presented a solution for protecting country’s interests: “Speaking of using coal instead of gas, when gas costs USD 416 [per 1,000 cubic meters] as it does now, coal use is appropriate and economically justified”. He emphasised that using coal instead of gas would be inefficient if the price of gas reached USD 220 per one cubic metre.
Minister Yuriy Boyko confirmed the PM’s words and announced the plan of switching all Ukrainian heat power plants to a coal-water mixture. “This will take us one year, but we have launched this process”, the Minister said. He added that there would be only one condition for the investors ready to participate in the privatization process of the power plants: obligatory usage of coal-water mixture technology, currently being developed in cooperation with China.
President Viktor Yanukovych also joined the media campaign serving as a power demonstration of the Ukrainian authorities, preceding the talks with Russia: “We are looking for alternative sources to buy gas now – certainly, at lower prices”. According to the Ukrainian head of state, the inflated price of gas results in high prices of Ukrainian products, making them uncompetitive on global markets. This was another issue raised by Boyko, who informed on the continuing negotiations with Turkey concerning potential gas supplies. “We have started talks with our Turkish partners on gas delivery through a new route. We expect that at the end of January we will be able to give a more detailed proposal”. The Minister elaborated on another solution: purchasing gas needed in Ukraine in the spot market.