Ukraine is facing its most severe winter in modern history, but it should be able to meet the government’s objective of creating 19 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas reserves on time, according to Energy Minister German Galushchenko.

Ukraine stopped importing Russian natural gas in 2015 and now gets its gas from the rest of Europe, but rising costs and the high cost of Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion have brought the viability of stockpiling such a big amount of fuel into doubt. Russia’s efforts are described as a “special military operation.”

Reaching the prime minister’s reserve target of 19 billion cubic meters (bcm) could comfort Ukrainians who are ready for a terrible wartime winter with severe energy shortages, as natural gas is primarily used to heat houses.

“I think that during this season we will more or less reach 19 billion,” Galushchenko told Reuters, adding that the country requires some of the gas volume as insurance in “critical situations.”

The government does not release estimates of household gas consumption, but Galushchenko stated that there is enough fuel to go through the winter.

However, he projected that the upcoming winter will be the worst for Ukraine since its independence from the Russia-dominated Soviet Union in 1991.

“There is no doubt about that – and not only for Ukraine, but for Europe as well. There will be difficulties that Europe has never faced before “He stated.

The minister would not specify how much gas had already been piped into storage.

Yuriy Vitrenko, the chairman of the national energy corporation Naftogaz, told reporters earlier this month that more than 12 billion cubic meters of gas were already in storage.

It is unknown where Ukraine will get the remaining 7 billion cubic meters. The central heating season in Ukraine normally begins in mid-October. Ukraine has around 19 billion cubic meters of gas in store for the winter of 2021/20.

According to him, gas consumption has dropped by 40% compared to peacetime levels, while output has dropped by only 5%.

According to analysts, a halt in gas transit might jeopardize the stability of the Ukrainian gas infrastructure.

They said that gas reserves in western Ukraine would not be sufficient to maintain pipeline pressure and fuel supplies to Ukraine’s east and center.

However, Galushchenko stated that Kyiv is also prepared for Russia to suspend gas transit through Ukraine.

“This is one of the situations that has been calculated. We will undoubtedly survive “The minister added that it is a plausible and evident situation.

Russia has curtailed gas transit through Ukraine since the beginning of the year. In August, those quantities averaged about 40-42 million cubic meters per day, despite Russian gas supplier Gazprom (GAZP.MM) paying Kyiv to pump 109 million cubic meters per day.

Source: Reuters

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