Hints Of Possible Deal On Ukraine Gas Emerge At G20

Posted by Joseph R. Fonseca
Friday, April 11, 2014

 Behind statements that Russia will not budge in demanding Ukraine repay its debts for its natural gas deliveries, hints 

 
emerged at a meeting of G20 finance chiefs this week that a deal in which Moscow eases its stance might be in the works.
 
Financial aid to Ukraine was a hot topic at a meeting of finance ministers from the Group of 20 leading nations, but the 
 
country's gas crisis, which could threaten deliveries to Europe, topped discussions with Russia that were held on the 
 
sidelines.
 
Moscow, which alienated Western powers by annexing Ukraine's Crimea peninsula, this month raised the price it charges Kiev 
 
for gas and said it awaits $2.2 billion in unpaid bills.
 
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov reiterated the Kremlin's threats that it may switch to prepaid gas deliveries to 
 
Ukraine if payments don't start coming, but between the now-standard lines he signalled some room for maneuver.
 
"We do not want to escalate tensions with Ukraine. We want to resolve it peacefully and neighborly," Siluanov told 
 
journalists when asked about the gas dispute.
 
"But it requires a decision of the Ukrainian authorities, support of the European Union colleagues. There is a need to sit 
 
down and discuss this issue. Find solutions."
 
The indication from Moscow that a solution was possible suggested diplomatic efforts by Germany and pressure from the United 
 
States were bearing fruit.
 
 
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told Siluanov in a meeting on Thursday that Russia needed to "further participate" in 
 
international efforts to ensure a free flow of energy and trade.
 
Kiev gets about half of its gas from Moscow and a large proportion of Europe's gas is pumped from Russia via Ukraine's 
 
territory.
 
Siluanov said the talks with Lew were tense and that each stood by their own position, but he was decidedly more relaxed 
 
after meeting with his German counterpart, Wolfgang Schaeuble, with whom he said he has had "a very good relationship."
 
Their bosses, President Vladimir Putin and Chancellor Angela Merkel, on Friday signalled a need for a common approach.
 
Putin backed off from a warning on Thursday that Moscow could cut off gas to Ukraine, potentially threatening European 
 
supplies. "I want to say again: We do not intend and do not plan to shut off the gas," he said.
 
Merkel said the European Union wants to be "good customers and we want to be able to rely on Russian gas supplies."
 
The EU confirmed plans for talks between Russia, Ukraine, the EU and the United States in Geneva on April 17.
 
In Washington, Siluanov said Schaeuble told him he was concerned about the gas price hike Moscow imposed on Ukraine, but 
 
suggested there was willingness to work together.
 
"Schaeuble and others are interested in a fast resolution of Ukraine's (gas) conflict and in the country's ability to repay 
 
its obligations," Siluanov said.
 
As for Schaeuble, he said Russia must be a part of the solution to the whole Ukrainian crisis. "We don't want to make this 
 
difficult for Russia," he said.
 
The details of how Germany or other European countries could help remain unclear. Siluanov said a first tranche worth some $6 
 
billion from an IMF and Western aid package to Ukraine could be used for gas payments.
 
He would not answer a question on whether Russia would then ease prices or return to discounts it had offered earlier to 
 
Kiev, saying there was a set of conditions Ukraine would first have to meet.
 
But he added that Moscow was not "tied" to those conditions.
 
There had been some expectation officials from the Group of Seven developed nations, which includes Germany, would consider 
 
possible further sanctions on Russia over Ukraine at a meeting its top finance officials held on Thursday.
 
But the group did not mention Russia in a statement issued afterward, and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem said 
 
further sanctions were not discussed.
 
"Europe and the U.S. are prepared to look at further sanctions if necessary and we are determined we will go that way if 
 
necessary, but I think we have a strong joint interest with the Russians to stop this escalation," Dijsselbloem told Reuters.
 
"It is having major economic effects on Russia, it is having major political and economic effects on Ukraine, and we have to 
 
look for common ground for Europe and Russia to stabilize the situation in Ukraine," he said. "I think that is key." 
 
(Additional reporting by Gernot Heller, Jan Strupczewski and Anna Yukhananov; Editing by Tim Ahmann)
 
Maritime Reporter September 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Ensco plc Reports 3Q, 2014 Results

Ensco plc  today reported earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.93 in third quarter 2014, up 16% from $1.66 in third quarter 2013. Adjusted for a $0.

Chevron Announces Quarterly Dividend

The Board of Directors of Chevron Corporation today declared a quarterly dividend of one dollar and seven cents ($1.07) per share, payable December 10, 2014,

Exmar Optimistic About Gas Carrier Market into 2015

Belgian gas shipping group Exmar said on Thursday that the market for its very large and midsize gas carriers was at historically high levels in the third quarter

Energy

Ensco plc Reports 3Q, 2014 Results

Ensco plc  today reported earnings per share from continuing operations of $1.93 in third quarter 2014, up 16% from $1.66 in third quarter 2013. Adjusted for a $0.

Fukushima Offshore Floating Wind Farm Update

A consortium has been participating in an experimental offshore floating wind farm project sponsored by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry since March 2012.

Wärtsilä Propulsion Equipment for 2 Fishing Vessels

Two new 78 metre purser/trawler fishing vessels being designed and built at Karstensen Shipyard in Denmark will feature Wärtsilä's main propulsion and control equipment.

LNG

Exmar Optimistic About Gas Carrier Market into 2015

Belgian gas shipping group Exmar said on Thursday that the market for its very large and midsize gas carriers was at historically high levels in the third quarter

US Natgas Exports Would Raise Energy Prices but Boost Economy

Expanded U.S. liquefied natural gas exports would mean a modest price increase for domestic consumers, but the higher costs would be offset by a boost to the economy, the U.

Korean Register to Drive LNG Fuelled Shipping

Korean Register (KR) will work alongside the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Secretariat (APEC) to promote the use of LNG fuelled ships in the APEC region. APEC

News

USCG Cutter Diligence Returns

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Diligence returned to Wilmington following a 45-day patrol in the Caribbean Sea. While on patrol, Diligence served as the

Southern California Port Congestion

Hapag-Lloyd informs about the congestion at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach that has reached a critical point. I. Several container ships are anchoring

GAC Starts Hull Cleaning Op'ns in Oman

GAC EnvironHull hull cleaning operations using the brush-and-diver-free HullWiper system starting at the port of Sohar, just outside the Gulf of Hormuz. This

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Offshore Oil Pipelines Ship Repair Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.2149 sec (5 req/sec)