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 Today


The Maritime Industry's original and most viewed E-News Service

Maritime Reporter April 2016 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Finance

Defense Appropriations Bill Includes $1 Bln for US Icebreaker

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY2017 Defense Appropriations Bill has included $1 billion in funding to accelerate construction of a new polar icebreaker for the U.

Higher Capesize Demand Pushes up Baltic Index

The Baltic Exchange's main sea freight index, tracking rates for ships carrying dry bulk commodities, rose on Friday buoyed by higher demand for capesize vessels.

TT Club Reports Robust Financial Results for 2015

TT Club has announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2015, and AM Best affirms its A- (Excellent) rating for the 10th consecutive year.   Knud Pontoppidan,

Energy

GloMEEP Project Forges Ahead with Train-the-Trainer Workshop

A global Train-the-Trainer workshop on energy efficiency has been delivered in China (23-27 May), preparing the personnel needed to cascade knowledge on energy

Hercules Offshore Filing for Bankruptcy Again

Hercules Offshore Inc said it planned to file for prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy, just six months after the rig contractor emerged from bankruptcy protection.

Strike Idles 38 Oil Tankers at Fos-Lavera

Some 38 oil tankers have been held up at the Fos-Lavera oil port in southern France, the country's biggest, including 25 at harbour, up from 12 the previous day,

LNG

NASSCO Lays Keel for Jones Act Tanker Liberty

U.S. shipbuilder General Dynamics NASSCO hosted a keel laying ceremony on Thursday, May 26 for the Liberty, one of three new ECO Class Jones Act tankers under a

Höegh LNG Turns to Profit in 1Q

Höegh LNG returned to profit following a Profit after tax of USD 6.3 million for the first quarter of 2016, up from USD 4.0 million net loss in the fourth quarter 2015.

World’s Biggest LNG Buyer Becomes Seller

EDF Trading, a wholly-owned subsidiary of French power giant EDF, has signed an LNG sales and purchase agreement with Japanese LNG aggregator Jera Co Inc, one

News

GloMEEP Project Forges Ahead with Train-the-Trainer Workshop

A global Train-the-Trainer workshop on energy efficiency has been delivered in China (23-27 May), preparing the personnel needed to cascade knowledge on energy

Diana Charters Out Two Bulkers

Diana Shipping Inc. today announced that, through a separate wholly-owned subsidiary, it entered into a time charter contract with Bunge S.A., Geneva, for one of its Panamax dry bulk vessels,

Long Beach Port Maintains Strong Bond Rating

Fitch Ratings, one of the top three U.S. credit analysis agencies, has affirmed the Port of Long Beach’s “AA” rating on its outstanding debt. Fitch stated the AA rating — its highest for U.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Security Navigation Pipelines Pod Propulsion Salvage Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | 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: 0.0955 sec (10 req/sec)