Expected to top the agenda is a discussion on how Europe can secure its energy supplies.
Officials are also likely to discuss a request for help in price negotiations with Russia by Ukraine and Moldova, the other former Soviet republic hit by the state-controlled Gazprom's decision to raise prices.
EU Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said yesterday that the two countries had "called upon the EU to take [the] initiative in facilitating in the negotiation process” with Russia.
European customers reported delivery shortfalls after Moscow cut off supplies to Ukraine on 1 January following Kyiv’s rejection of a fourfold price increase. Yesterday the company restored normal delivery levels to European customers.
Overnight in Moscow, officials from Russia and Ukraine held talks to try and end the dispute. Results of the talks were not immediately available.
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- Ukraine consumes 70 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year. It produces 20 bcm of its own gas, has a signed contract to import 40 bcm from Turkmenistan, and in 2005 was getting 29 bcm from Russia as payment for transit of Russian gas.
- Ukraine sells some 7 bcm of gas a year to the West and places some in underground storage facilities. These facilities can hold 34.5 bcm.
- Ukraine is the sixth-largest consumer of gas in the world and uses more gas than Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia combined.
- Russia has proven gas reserves of 47 trillion cubic meters (tcm) -- the largest in the world ahead of Iran and Qatar.
- Russia sells approximately 160 bcm to Europe each year. By 2015, Europe is expected to import 300 bcm, or 40 percent of its projected needs from Russia.
- Russia's Gazprom is the world's largest gas company. It is the only company allowed by Russian law to export gas outside the borders of the CIS. It also owns the gas-transportation system and most of the gas fields in Russia.
- The Russian state is Gazprom's majority shareholder , with a 51 percent share. The company's ownership rights changed as of the beginning of 2006, with Gazprom stock being sold on the open market. The Russian state, however, will continue to hold the majority stake.