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PM: Ukraine Storing Natural Gas at Slower Rate

FILE - Workers are seen walking at a gas pipeline station in Uzhhorod, western Ukraine, May 21, 2014.

Ukraine's efforts to store natural gas for winter are running 1 billion cubic meters behind their pace last year, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said Wednesday.

Ukraine has 14.1 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas in underground storage, he said. The country aims to store 18 to 19 bcm of gas before the winter heating season begins in mid-October.

"On this day last year, we had 1 billion more. ... We're in talks with our Western partners to get short-term funding to pump gas," Yatseniuk said at a government meeting.

Ukraine suspended gas imports from Russia in July over pricing, leaving it dependent on domestic output and imports from Europe.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said it was considering a $300 million loan to state-run Naftogaz to help it buy gas.

The government has ordered Naftogaz to borrow $1 billion to create a fund to finance the purchase, transport and storage of gas.

Talks have been held not only with the EBRD but also with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko will travel to Brussels on Thursday to meet European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss gas, among other topics.

Last week, the commission said it might be able to hold another round of ministerial talks with Russia and Ukraine on gas at the end of September.

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