Gazprom said on Thursday that it had agreed to buy 30 billion cubic meters of gas from Turkmenistan in 2006, up from the previously planned 10 billion in 2005, in a move that pointedly made things worse for Ukraine.
In the first quarter alone, Gazprom would buy 15 bcm, which amounts to almost all Turkmen exports, it said in a statement.
Turkmenistan has been selling 36 bcm to 37 bcm to Ukraine annually. Gazprom's increased purchases of Turkmen gas will reduce the volume available for Ukraine to 14 bcm to 15 bcm.
"This deal gives Gazprom one more trump card in its dispute with Ukraine," said energy analyst Valery Nesterov of brokerage Troika Dialog . "It is crystal clear that given Turkmenistan's flat gas production, the Gazprom deal reduces volumes that are available for direct purchases by Ukraine."
And, in another development, Kommersant newspaper noted on December 28 that
Yesterday, for the first time of gas confrontation with Ukraine, Moscow used an argument that looks like a threat to use force. Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Ivanov indicated that reconsideration of agreements about Russian Black Sea Fleet by Ukraine can lead Moscow to review an agreement about borders.(via Marius)