KIEV, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Ukraine, wanting to cut its dependence on expensive Russian natural gas, plans to reduce imports from the neighbouring country next year to 24.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) from 27 billion in 2012, a Ukrainian energy official said.
Ukraine imported 40 bcm of Russian gas in 2010.
"This year, we will import 27 billion cubic metres while we have sent to Russia the request to buy 24.5 billion cubic metres in 2013," the official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters on Thursday.
The ex-Soviet republic, whose economy depends heavily on strategic energy supplies from Russia, wants to revise a 2009 gas deal with Moscow, saying it set prices that were too high.
But Moscow says it will cut prices only if Russia's giant gas export monopoly Gazprom is allowed to buy into the pipelines that carry Russian gas across Ukraine to markets further west in Europe. Kiev has so far refused to agree to this.
Ukraine is trying to replace some imports of Russian natural gas by drawing on its own limited resources of the fuel and by making more use of its abundant coal reserves.
Kiev is due to pay $426 per 1,000 cubic metres in the third quarter of this year and the price could rise further to about $430 per tcm in the fourth quarter, according to analysts' calculations.
Ukraine paid $354 per tcm in the third quarter of 2011 and $400 in the fourth quarter of last year. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Anthony Barker)