OAO Gazprom, Russia's natural-gas export monopoly, will charge Latvia an average 50% more for the fuel as part of its plan to raise prices for the Baltic states to western European levels.
AS Latvijas Gaze, Latvia's gas distributor, signed an agreement with Gazprom on higher rates for 2007, Riga-based Latvijas Gaze said in a statement to Riga Stock Exchange today. Gas prices are expected to continue to rise in the Baltic states until 2008, when they are projected to reach Western European levels. „The increase of purchase price is due to the growing prices of oil and heavy fuel oil in recent years, as well as the wish of Gazprom to make a gradual transition to a purchase price compliant with the global market,” the statement said. Latvijas Gaze is 47% owned by E.ON AG, Germany's largest utility, and 34%t by Gazprom. (Bloomberg)