Ukraine to have enough fuel supplies for heating throughout winter, says PM
Ukraine will have enough fuel for heat and power generation throughout the winter, and energy bills for the public are not going to go up, Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said at a briefing on Dec. 18.
“Ukraine will have both heating and electricity, and prices are to remain unchanged throughout the heating season,” he said.
He said Ukraine’s energy independence is a critical national security issue, due to Russian influence in the sector.
“First we need to increase our own gas production,” Shmyhal said.
“The government has signed 11 agreements on product distribution with private and state-owned companies. This makes it possible to secure investment worth over $10 billion. The implementation (of the agreements) is underway.”
Naftogaz, the state-owned Ukrainian gas monopoly, has a Key Performance Indicator foresees it increasing gas production by 5 percent next year, and later by 10 percent, Shmyhal said.
The prime minister added that Ukraine was negotiating with international partners to ensure the country has enough gas supplies.
“We’re negotiating with our international partners to ensure (we have enough) gas supplies and production, and we’re already talking about new technologies – hydrogen fuel in Ukraine,” he added, noting that the first agreement on this has already been signed.
Earlier, on Dec. 15, Shmyhal said at cabinet meeting that Ukraine had enough gas and coal reserves for the 2021-2022 heating season.
However, the Ukrainian news website ZN.UA reported on Dec. 16 that Ukraine’s SBU security service had submitted a report to the Cabinet of Ministers which stated that coal reserves at some heat producing enterprises had reached critically low levels.
The SBU warned the government that the heating cuts in many oblasts would lead to “extraordinary industry-related events, an increase in social tension among the public, as well as the discrediting of the state authorities.”
Earlier, the Ekonomichna Pravda business media outlet reported that because of coal shortages and Belarus’ move to cut electricity supplies to Ukraine over tensions between the two countries, the Ukrainian government was looking at ways to converting the nation’s thermal power plants to burn gas instead of coal.
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