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Moscow lands Ukraine USD 7bn gas bill

28th January 2013

Russia upset over Ukraine’s shale deal with Shell, hits country with USD 7bn gas bill

Moscow lands Ukraine USD 7bn gas bill
Some forecasts suggest that Ukraine, France and Poland may hold Europe's largest shale rock deposits

Moscow has landed Ukraine a USD 7bn bill for gas imports, an undisclosed source told news agency Reuters on Monday, as the Russian neighbour seeks to reduce its reliance on steep Russian gas.

"We have indeed received a bill for USD 7bn," the source told Reuters.

The move came days after Ukraine inked a 50-year USD 10bn shale deal with Royal Dutch Shell for the development of unconventional resources, as part of plans to reduce the country’s reliance on high priced Russian gas.

"In our opinion, we don't owe anything to anyone. All the gas which we should have bought (last year) according to the contract, we bought and have paid for," Reuters quoted its energy industry source as saying.

"It looks as if everything is linked to the signing of the agreement with Shell in Davos," he said.
Past tensions between Moscow and Kiev in 2006 and 2009 disrupted the flow of Russian gas via Ukraine to the European Union. The former Soviet alliet pays for Russian gas at above market rates.

There was no immediate comment from Russian gas giant Gazprom in Moscow or from Ukraine's state gas company Naftogaz. Ukraine's government had no immediate comment either, Reuters reported.

Under the Shell-Ukraine deal, The Anglo Dutch major will sink 15 exploratory wells in the Yuzovska field in an area of 7,000 square kilometresin a region believed to hold three trillion cubic metres of natural gas, enough to meet the country’s gas needs for 70 years.

Some forecasts suggest that Ukraine, France and Poland may hold Europe's largest shale rock deposits.

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