Approximately 115 billion cu.m. of Russian gas transits westward over the territory of Ukraine p.a., over an average transit distance of 1090 km. Multiplying these numbers by the current transit rate of $1,7 dollars per 1000 cu.m per 100 km, the current total income for Ukraine from the transit of gas is $2,13 billion.
The authoritative periodical "Zerkalo Tyzhnya" consider a realistic European gas transit rate to be $9,32 per 1000 cu.m per 100 km. This would provide a total income from the transit of gas of $11,68 billion.
The periodical considers the 'European' price for imported gas to be $350 per 1000 cu.m at Ukraine's western borders, i.e. around $250 at its eastern borders.
By buying gas from monopoly supplier RosUkrEnergo at the current rate of $179,5 instead of a 'market' rate of $250 Ukraine saves about $4 billion, but is losing about $9,5bn on transit fees.
The Tymoshenko goverment has clearly got plenty of negotiation room. And the $2 billion Naftogaz default does not look that terrible.
The figures above give an indication of the the magnitude of kickbacks in this gas business.
"Zerkalo Tyzhnya" asks "..how can a state company, strategically important to the ecomomy of the country, which should be one of the main contributors to the budget, and which provides a fundamental portion of oil and gas transit routes to Europe, and also extracts nearly 90% of oil and gas in Ukraine, can be a loss-maker and have a financial deficit? Particularly at a time of record prices for oil and gas?!"
It includes this semi-cryptic paragraph in its conclusion:
The "Naftogaz" default is a serious problem and those responsible should be most ashamed of themselves. They can only hide from the reproachful gaze of the community in the "Mandarin" restaurant, in 'the building of the century' in Obolon, in the Emirates' office of "Petrogaz", and in the presidential suite of the Emirates' "Sail" hotel.
p.s. If anyone is interested in 'Petrogaz' just enter it into this site's search engine.