Ukrainian Minister: Europe is facing the hardest winter in its modern history

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Ukraine is facing the toughest winter in its modern history but will manage to meet the government’s goal of accumulating 19 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in time, Energy Minister Herman Gerashenko assured.

Ukraine stopped importing natural gas from Russia in 2015 and now gets gas from the rest of Europe, but skyrocketing prices and huge costs since Russia’s February 24 invasion cast doubt on whether it can store such huge amount of fuel.

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“I think we will reach, more or less, 19 billion,” Galushenko told Reuters, noting that the country needs this reserve for security “in critical situations.”

Natural gas is used in Ukraine mainly for heating houses.

The government does not disclose its estimates of household consumption, but Galushenko said he believes the country will have enough fuel to see it through the winter.

But he predicted that this winter will be the worst for Ukraine since it gained independence in 1991. “There’s no doubt about that. And not just for Ukraine but for Europe as well. There will be challenges that Europe doesn’t have see again”, he emphasized.

The minister declined to say how much gas has been stored so far, but earlier this month the head of state energy company Naftogaz Yury Vitrenko told reporters that reserves already reached 12 bcm.

It is unclear where Ukraine will find the remaining 7 bcm. Usually, the season when central heating starts working starts in mid-October. Ukraine had stockpiled around 19 bcm for winter 2020/21.

Gas consumption has decreased by 40% compared to peacetime, while production has decreased by only 5%.

The minister said that Kyiv is also prepared in the event that Russia stops the transit of gas through Ukrainian territory. “This is one of the scenarios and we are taking it into account. Certainly, we will survive,” he said.

Source: RES-MPE

Source: Capital

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