Gazprom sets up two joint ventures in Ukraine
Gazprom and Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz have agreed on two joint ventures amid talk of a potential merger down the line, the Russian natural gas giant said Wednesday.
The agreements cover joint natural gas and coal production on the territory of Ukraine, and the joint construction of infrastructure for the Black Sea's Pallas field, the company said in a statement.
The companies' heads Alexei Miller and Yury Boiko "also continued their discussion of issues involving the development of a strategic partnership" between Gazprom and Neftegaz, the statement added.
In April, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin caught Ukraine's leaders off guard by proposing a merger between Gazprom, the world's largest gas firm, and Ukraine's state-held Naftogaz.
Despite rapidly warming ties, Ukraine has so far managed to hold the line, insisting that any merger with Gazprom should be implemented on equal terms.
Ukrainian officials have said, however, that a joint venture between the two energy companies is a possibility. Gazprom has proposed a 50-50 joint venture with Naftogaz, calling it a possible first step toward the merger of the two companies.
© 2010 AFP