Gazprom is to adopt a market- oriented approach to business with Belarus from 2007, Alexei Miller, CEO of the Russian gas giant said in an interview with Russia's Channel One television on Sunday.
"A price-setting mechanism for Russian gas sold on the Belarussian market will be guided by market principles and the experience of the world's gas business," Miller said, "we started negotiations in due time to avoid any unpleasant New Year surprises. Our talks will continue at the end of April."
"Today Gazprom is switching to understandable and transparent market principles in its dealings with all former Soviet republics. They are governed by trends in world prices for hydrocarbons." Miller added.
Gazprom announced on April 4 that the market price of Russian gas for Belarus should be raised by at least three times from the current 46 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters.
Asked whether the gas deal with Ukraine could be reviewed, a possibility voiced by a number of Ukrainian politicians, Miller said, "I am sure that nobody in Ukraine wants to repeat the situation, when gas deliveries to Ukrainian consumers were halted due to the absence of contracts and agreements."
According to Miller, the rise in the price Ukraine has to pay for Russian gas at Europe's level of 230 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters has already taken place.
Earlier this year, after a bitter, months-long dispute over gas prices, Gazprom and Ukraine's national oil and gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy clinched a deal on Jan. 4, under which Gazprom would raise gas price to 230 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic meters to RosUkrEnergo, a newly-set Russian-Ukrainian joint venture, which could mix the Russian gas with cheaper gas from Central Asia and sell the blend to Ukraine for 95 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters.