The solution to the current dispute between Russia and Ukraine that has resulted in the worst halt in gas supplies to Europe in years may rely on an intermediary company called RosUkrEnergo AG, according to analysts.
Ukraine buys all of its imported gas from RosUkrEnergo AG, a trading company based in Switzerland owned 50 percent by Russian state controlled Gazprom and 50 percent by two Ukranian businessmen.
The company doesn't own gas or pipelines but as a middleman earns about a 20 percent take on all the gas sold to Ukraine by Russia, according to a Businessweek report.
Analysts speculated on reasons on why the mediator is needed at all or who ultimately benefits from it. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Thursday that Russian state-run firm Gazprom was ready to sign a contract directly with Ukrain's Naftogaz but that they didn't allow it.
Gazprom, which provides about a quarter of the gas consumed in Europe, suspended all supplies through Ukraine Wednesday. The company said it stopped shipments after realizing Ukraine wasn't shipping some fuel intended for European customers, an allegation denied by Naftogaz.