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    Ukraine Looks to Diversify Suppliers of Natural Gas

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    Kiev continues to negotiate with Moscow on reducing gas prices. At the same time, Ukraine intends to reduce the amount of natural gas supplies from Russia by increasing its own gas production and using alternative fuel sources.

    Up to $ 5 billion a year - it's the loss to Ukraine after signing a 2009 gas contract with Russia.

    This conclusion was made at the last meeting of the Council of National Security and Defense.

    [Viktor Yanukovich, President, Ukraine]:
    "Today, excessive overpayment for gas not only reduced funds for the development of our country and social programs, it took from the pockets of almost every citizen of our state."

    The members of the National Security Council and Defense plan to expand the number of gas suppliers, as well as increase production volumes in Ukraine.

    In addition they are seeking alternative sources of gas.

    [Raisa Bohatyriova, Secretary, NSCD]:
    "The government of Ukraine will exert considerable effort in increasing the consumption of alternative fuels, including lignite and coal and their products, as well as peat, gas, methane-coal deposits and biomass."

    However, the director of energy programs of the NGO think tank "Nomos Center" says that without a comprehensive system of energy saving and reforms in the energy sector individual methods will be ineffective.

    In addition, in recent years, the country's gas production has declined.

    [Michail Gonchar, Director, Energy Programs, Nomos Center]:
    "Even if there is a change in trend towards increasing production, it's unlikely to improve the country's energy security."

    Ukraine continues to negotiate with Russia to reduce gas prices.

    Viktor Yanukovych says the cost of natural gas to Kiev is $516.00 per thousand cubic meters - the highest price in the world.

    He says the optimal price is about half that.