* Ukraine seeks more exposure to spot market in Europe
* Ukraine makes "fraudulent" reverse supplies -Miller
By Alexei Anishchuk
MOSCOW, March 31 Ukraine is using a "fraudulent
scheme" to carry out reverse shipments of Russian gas from the
European market, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said late on
Saturday, further raising tensions in a price dispute with Kiev.
Ukraine, a transit route for more than half of Russian gas
shipped to the European Union, wants to pay less for gas from
Russia because it says a 2009 deal with Moscow set an exorbitant
price, and aims to buy more gas from Europe.
The two ex-Soviet neighbours have a record of pricing
disputes which have resulted in interruptions of Russian gas
supplies to Europe.
"There are no de facto and physical reverse supplies
planned, but what is planned is to use Gazprom's gas through
some virtual reverse," the monopoly's head told Rossiya-24
state-run TV. "This is reminiscent of some fraudulent schemes
and one needs to deal with it."
Spokespersons for Ukraine's deputy prime minister on energy
issues Yuri Boiko and Fuel Minister Eduard Stavitsky were not
available for comment on Sunday.
Miller said the scheme was enforced using technical
manipulations at gas-measuring stations.
Reiterating Gazprom's position, he said buying gas
from Europe at spot prices will not be economically viable for
Ukraine, which currently buys Russian gas at a fixed price of
$430 per 1,000 cubic metres.
"There is no required gas volumes available there (in
Europe) in principle, at least not the volumes which Ukraine
needs," Miller said. "Secondly, gas prices at all European spot
platforms are higher than those on Gazprom's long-term
Spot prices have been on the rise in Europe due to
unseasonably cold weather in the past few weeks. The March
average UK spot gas price is around 85.6 pence a therm, some 10
pence below the Russian price.
Ukraine began importing a small volume of gas from Europe
last year and wants to import up to 8 billion cubic metres of
gas a year from central Europe to replace expensive Russian
Moscow has demanded concessions as a condition for
reviewing the price agreement, such as Ukraine joining a
Russia-led trade bloc or giving up control of its pipeline
Moscow has already made it clear it was unhappy with
Ukraine reducing imports from Russia and sent Kiev a $7 billion
bill in January for what it says are volumes of gas Ukraine was
obliged to buy under the "take or pay" contract.
(Additional reporting by Pavel Polityuk in Kiev; Editing by