UKRAINE WANTS MONEY
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said on Thursday it was considering granting a $300 million trade finance loan to Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz to buy gas on the European market.
Ukraine has sought to cut its reliance on gas from Russia and earlier this month stopped buying Russian supplies altogether due to a long-running pricing dispute.
"The project aims at supporting the policy of the government of Ukraine to make Naftogaz operations financially sustainable ... (and) eliminating the need for budget subsidies," the EBRD said in a statement.
If approved, the money will be disbursed no earlier than September, Naftogaz said in a separate statement.
Ukraine's government has ordered Naftogaz to borrow $1 billion to create a fund to finance the purchase, transport and storage of gas.
Naftogaz is tasked with creating the fund using agreements with foreign creditors under state guarantees. According to analysts' calculations, a $1 billion loan would allow Ukraine to buy around 4 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas.
Ukraine is in talks with the EBRD, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.
This month the head of the EBRD said the bank could invest hundreds of millions of dollars in Ukraine's energy sector this year, but that any investment would depend on Kiev implementing long-promised energy sector reforms.
Ukraine has about 12 bcm of gas in reserve and hopes to store about 18 billion cubic metres (bcm) by mid-autumn from its own supply and from Europe.
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