KIEV, April 12 (RIA Novosti) – Kiev is interested in quickly setting up a joint venture between the country’s national oil and gas company Naftogas and Russian gas giant Gazprom, Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said on Tuesday.
“We are interested in valuing related assets in the nearest future to find the best format and most appropriate terms of such a joint venture,” Azarov told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
The idea of merging the two energy companies was put forward by Putin last April. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said at the time that both companies should seek the merger through joint ventures as the first step towards consolidation, adding that Russia could contribute reserves, while Ukraine could contribute its gas transportation system.
However, in October Azarov ruled out a merger between Gazprom and Naftogaz, but welcomed the idea of a joint venture between the two companies to develop gas deposits in the Astrakhan region in southern Russia and in the Yamal region in Russian Arctic.
Azarov also said Kiev expected Russian companies to participate in upgrading the Ukrainian gas transportation system.
“I would like to confirm the intention of the Ukrainian side to carry out a general reconstruction of the gas transit system to increase Russian natural gas deliveries to European countries by about one third,” he said.
“I count on Russian companies to take an active part in our gas transit system, which provides core pipelines and construction of main pumping stations.”