Executive Director of Ukraine’s Naftogaz Group Yuriy Vitrenko wrote on his Facebook page that negotiations between the heads of Ukraine's Naftogaz, Russian gas giant Gazprom and the new Ukrainian pipeline operator, “ Ukraine’s GTS (gas transmission system) operator”.
According to him, they talked about the future gas transit. He said that the European Commission asked the parties to discuss the settlement of the past claims and current rulings of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. Gazprom included the settlement of lawsuits in the negotiations "package" on transit.
Vitrenko stated that the Ukrainian company considers that it is possible to receive Russian gas as part of debt payment under the previous decision of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce. The total amount of debt is about $3 billion.
"We are also ready to withdraw our new arbitration claims, but only if a long-term transit contract covering all costs is signed, and if Naftogaz gets compensation for Gazprom's failure to fulfill its obligations under current contracts," said Vitrenko.
Vitrenko calls this position constructive as it allows Russia to cover the expenses even without economic profits for Ukraine.
"Now we are ready to return to the trilateral talks and tell the Europeans how we discussed these issues in good faith," he said.
On January 1, 2020, the current 10-year gas transit contract between Naftogaz of Ukraine and the Russian gas monopoly Gazprom will expire.
With the help of the European Commission, Ukraine has been trying to get Gazprom to sign a new 10-year contract for the transit of up to 90 billion cubic meters per year. However, Naftogaz is skeptical whether it will be signed, and Vitrenko said that the company should prepare for gas transit to stop in 2020.
In 2020, Russia expects to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will enable it to minimize its use of Ukraine’s gas transportation system.