* Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom has set into motion the usual negotiating campaign to hike gas prices for CIS and the Baltic nations starting from 2008. Lithuania was told it would pay 40 percent more than today, the talks with Latvia and Estonia will begin in September, then it will be the turn of Belarus and Ukraine. In case of success, Gazprom will be able to generate from 15 percent to 40 percent more on those markets. But in the recent two years, the gas monopoly was unable to hike prices for those nations without serious conflicts threatening to break gas supplies to Europe.
Gazprom has notified Lithuania about hiking gas prices by 40 percent in 2008, Lietuvos rytas reported yesterday with reference to gas importers Lietuvos dujos and Dujotekana. The prices could be roughly $280/ths cu meters, the newspaper said. Today’s price is between $190/ths cu meters and $200/ths cu meters.
Lithuania was the first state of the former Soviet Union notified by Gazprom about the 2008 surge in gas prices. Negotiating with CIS is traditionally painstaking, especially when the talks involve the biggest consumers – Ukraine and Belarus. The gas conflict with Ukraine broke Europe’s supplies at the turn of 2005 to 2006, and the scenario nearly played again with Belarus this year.
In Gazprom, they don’t comment on the progress in negotiations or on the future prices for this or that country. “The prices will go up for sure for the Baltic States, Belarus and Ukraine,” a source with Gazprom said on condition of anonymity, specifying that the talks with Latvia and Estonia will begin in the near term, but Belarus will face the issue no sooner than in October. As to Ukraine, Gazprom will be able to begin negotiating with it after fixing the purchase prices with Middle Asia. The talks with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kazakhastan are slated for October.