The price of natural gas for the population can increase by 40% from April 1, 2017 in comparison with the current value of USD 0.25 per cu m on the condition that the state will not regulate the value of this price by the Cabinet's decisions, and the pricing will be under the influence of market factors. This was stated by the Commercial Director of the Naftogaz National oil and gas holding Yuriy Vitrenko in his article published in Novoye Vremya.
"If the state regulation of prices for the population needs, the so-called special obligations (obligations of Naftogaz for the supply of "blue" fuel for the population at the fixed price – ed), will not be extended, then we can expect that the price of gas for the needs of the population will increase by 40% on the basis of the current gas prices in the European markets, hryvnia exchange rate and other factors", - Vitrenko wrote.
According to him, the price leap can be avoided in that case if the state will retain the control over pricing. "If the governmental regulation will be extended, what the IMF must agree, because the government had promised the IMF in memorandum that the specific obligations were introduced only until April 1, then the increase of the prices, perhaps, will be able to postpone until October", - he noted.
He noted that an important factor in the pricing of gas is a decision of the Stockholm Arbitration on the suit of Naftogaz to Gazprom for the gas purchase contract. "We hope that the Stockholm Arbitration will satisfy our stated claims to Gazprom, and we will import gas at "hub minus" price. Then we can expect that the wholesale price for the needs of population will fall twice as compared with the current price" – the top manager wrote.
He noted that if there will not be a positive decision in the Arbitration till October 1, 2017, we can expect the increase in wholesale gas prices in the amount of 47%.
As previously reported, the Cabinet of Ministers set a single price for gas for the population at the level of USD 253 per thousand cubic meters from May 1, 2016. Presenting this decision, the first Vice-Prime Minister of Ukraine Stepan Kubiv and the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Ihor Nasalyk noted that the establishment of such a price would put an end to speculations on the gas market. It was called market and fair. The term of validity of this price was specified up to April 1, 2017.