STATOIL: GAS TO UKRAINE
Ukraine national natural gas company Naftogaz said on Friday it has signed an agreement with Norwegian energy company Statoil ASA to deliver gas to Ukraine.
"The first such agreement between Naftogaz and Statoil, it expands the pool of gas suppliers to Ukraine and also opens a new market for Statoil," officials at Naftogaz said, adding that Statoil began shipments to Naftogaz via Slovakia on Wednesday.
Naftogaz didn't disclose the volume or the price of the delivery.
Ukraine, gripped by a political and financial crisis, is trying to reduce its dependence on imports of Russian gas, which covers about a half of its needs.
Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine in June because of Naftogaz's unpaid debts. While Kiev has said Russia has unfairly jacked up energy prices.
European Union countries including Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland have been pumping some of the gas they receive from Russia back to Ukraine in recent months.
These so-called reverse gas flows often first arrive in countries like Poland through pipelines that run via Ukraine itself or Germany.
Gazprom, which says that practice is illegal has begun reducing flows to Poland and Slovakia, limiting their excess gas supplies and hindering efforts to provide Ukraine with gas.
Last week Hungary stopped delivering gas to Ukraine after Alexei Miller, chief executive of Russia's gas monopoly Gazprom, met Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in Budapest to discuss present and future gas supplies.
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