UPDATE 1-Ukraine Naftogaz seeks to roll over $2 bln loan

Thu Jul 4, 2013 5:31am EDT

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* Loan was agreed last year and repayment fell due in June

* Naftogaz at centre of gas disputes between Ukraine and Russia (Adds details, background)

KIEV, July 4 (Reuters) - Ukraine state oil and gas company Naftogaz is in talks to extend the repayment terms of a $2 billion loan from Russia's Gazprombank, which fell due last month, the government said on Thursday.

The financially troubled Ukrainian company imports Russian gas and then sells it to domestic householders for much less under a system of state subsidies.

Scheduled repayment of the loan fell due on June 24, the government said on the parliament's website. "The company has proposed to the bank that the timescale ... be extended," it said.

Naftogaz is a major player in confrontations between Ukraine and Russia over the price of Russian gas supplies, much of which passes through pipelines in the former Soviet republic to consumers in Europe.

The government chose to give details of the Gazprombank loan on Thursday in a document that also said it was turning to parliament for approval to guarantee repayment of the loan.

The government announcement was the first official word of a deal that was tied up last year.

Apart from this loan, Naftogaz must also next year repay $1.6 billion to investors under a five-year Eurobond programme.

Naftogaz's financial troubles have been at the centre of discussions between Ukraine and the International Monetary Fund, which has been urging Kiev to raise the price of gas to households.

But this has been rejected by the government of President Viktor Yanukovich, which fears a public backlash that would hurt its popularity.

Naftogaz pays about $1 billion a month for gas from Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom, the main shareholder of Gazprombank. At the same time, it receives money from Gazprom for shipping its gas to Europe.

Gazprom said last week it would pay $1 billion up front to Ukraine for gas transit to finance Kiev's purchases of gas for storage and to secure shipments to Europe in the winter of 2013/14.

Gazprom ships more than half of its gas to Europe via Ukraine. This year it aims to increase exports to Europe, where it provides a quarter of gas needs, to 150 billion cubic metres from 138 bcm last year.

Ukraine has been trying for months to renegotiate its current gas deal with Russia, seeking a lower price. But the talks have so far failed to yield any tangible results. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets and Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Richard Balmforth; editing by Jane Baird)

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