Russian officials discussing gas price for Ukraine

The Gazprom head threatened earlier to hike the price, even though Ukraine's state-owned Naftogaz gas and oil company argues that the current price of US$95 per 1,000 cubic meters is valid for five years unless both sides agree to review it.

Under the current deal that defused an earlier bitter fight over gas prices, Ukraine receives all of its imported natural gas at that price from a little-known intermediary company,RosUkrEnergo, a joint venture between Gazprom and Centragas Holding AG.

According to the terms of the agreement, Gazprom sells Russian and cheaper Central Asian gas to RosUkrEnergo, which then sells it at the blended price of US$95 to Ukraine. Previously Ukraine had paid US$50 for gas from Russia.

However, Turkmenistan, a main contributor to the gas Gazprom sells to RosUkrEnergo, has sought to increase its prices from the current US$65 per 1,000 cubic meters to US$100 ( Ђ 80), raising fears that the cost could be passed on to Ukrainian consumers.

The gas-rich Central Asian country has warned that it will cut exports to Russia if Gazprom does not accept the new price by September. Ryazanov noted Friday that the current contract with Turkmenistan would remain in force until between September 23 and 27, the AP reports.