Trilateral talks about gas from Russia being piped to Europe through Ukraine were “constructive” and have taken steps in the right direction, European Energy Commissioner Maros Sefcovic said on Thursday.
“I believe that today we have taken steps in the right direction. In other words, there was convergence of the position on most of the issues we discussed,” Sefcovic told a news conference after a third round of trilateral talks in Brussels.
Officials are discussing a new long-term agreement on natural gas flows after the current deal expires in January.
There was “a sense of urgency” at European Union talks in Brussels with the Russian and Ukrainian energy ministers and the heads of their biggest gas companies.
Sefcovic said the sides had agreed that a future contract should be based on EU law and EU rules and it was important that Naftogaz, Ukraine’s national oil and gas company, would be unbundled, creating a new company to handle transit of gas through Ukraine.
“We agreed… that we would resume our meeting at the political level by the end of October, when I hope we will have much more progress achieved on the issues that we put on the table today.”
Agreement must still be found on the duration of the contract, transit volumes and tariffs, said Sefcovic.
Russia and Ukraine have been embroiled in numerous gas price wars – and concern is mounting that Moscow might turn off the taps in the depths of winter.