Amid energy spats, Ukraine’s economy showing resilience

26 Oct 2017   Ukraine

Amid spats with Russia over natural gas, Ukraine’s prime minister said Wednesday the economy for the former Soviet republic is on pace to grow at a decent clip. “The economy is showing resilience,” Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman was quoted in state media as saying. “We are planning 3 percent growth for the next year.” While stronger that advanced industrialized economies, the prime minister said that growth rate should be closer to at least 5 percent. To advance, he said, the country needed to improve the business climate and take a “worthy place in Europe.” Ukraine serves as an energy bridge for Europe, hosting the pipelines that carry about 20 percent of the Russian natural gas headed west. Geopolitical […]

Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea

21 Oct 2017   Russia, Ukraine

Russia’s TV channel REN TV on Friday aired a video of an air strike drill on a decommissioned boat in the Black Sea to warn Ukraine against attempts to recover oil rigs off the coast of Crimea, which Russia annexed in 2014. According to REN TV, Russia’s Black Sea fleet showed Ukraine what would happen to its fleet if it attacked oil rigs, adding that Russia’s forces showed Ukraine how groundless its claim was that smaller targets are difficult to strike. Ukraine’s UNIAN news outlet commented that this was “a blunt threat to apply the same force to the actual Ukrainian Navy warships once Kyiv attempts to regain control over its assets seized by Russia in the Black Sea as a result of Crimea occupation or attack vessels under the Russian flag.” Last month, UNIAN reported –quoting Ukraine’s State Border Guard Service–that Russia continued to extract gas on the […]

First-ever U.S. coal shipment arrives in Ukraine

16 Sep 2017   Ukraine

The first batch of U.S. coal sent to Ukraine could open additional doors for bilateral energy trade, the Ukrainian minister of infrastructure said. Minister Volodymyr Omelyan said Friday that, after declaring a state of emergency because of coal blockades in eastern Ukraine, his country was supported with the arrival of U.S. coal. “My dream is that other ships coming from United States would bring Tesla cars and other electric cars , and we would supply electrical batteries and high-tech components to the USA, then this cooperation will be even stronger and more promising,” he said in a statement . U.S. Cabinet officials, the U.S. envoy to Ukraine and representatives from […]

U.S. part of energy security strategy, Ukraine says

9 Sep 2017   Ukraine

Cooperation with the United States on energy security will help Ukrainian efforts to reduce its dependency on Russia, the envoy to the United States said. Valeriy Chaly, the Ukrainian envoy to the United States, said collaborative efforts with Holtec International, which has headquarters in New Jersey, on nuclear storage objectives were “extremely important” to energy security. Holtec in August secured approval from the Ukrainian government to start construction on a fuel storage facility at Ukraine’s Chernobyl facility, which suffered a catastrophic accident in 1986. Since then, the plant’s remaining reactors have been in a phased decommissioning process. “The implementation of [the Holtec] project will dramatically reduce our dependence on Russia’s interim spent nuclear fuel storing services and […]

In a first, U.S. ships coal to Ukraine

23 Aug 2017   Coal, Ukraine

U.S. to ship coal from Pennsylvania to Ukraine as part of an energy security strategy. The first-ever U.S. shipment will arrive at a Ukrainian port in September. Photo by Debbie Hill/ UPI Aug. 22 (UPI) — Coal shipped from the United States could help address energy security issues in Ukraine, the nation’s energy secretary said. U.S. Cabinet officials, the U.S. envoy to Ukraine and representatives from XCoal were on hand for the first shipment of coal from a Pennsylvania facility to Ukrainian energy company Centrenergo. U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry said coal sent from the United States would serve as a secure and reliable form of energy for Ukrainian consumers. “The department and this administration look forward to making available even more of our abundant natural resources to allies like Ukraine in the future to promote their own energy security through diversity of supply and source,” he said in […]

U.S. energy secretary duped into fake interview with Russian comedians

26 Jul 2017   Ukraine, USA

U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry optimistically discussed expanding American coal exports to Ukraine and other energy matters during a lengthy phone call this month with a Russian prankster who Perry thought was Ukraine’s prime minister. Perry actually was talking with comedians known in Russia for targeting celebrities and politicians with audacious stunts, Energy Department spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes said in a written statement. Pranksters Vladimir Krasnov and Alexei Stolyarov are sometimes called the “Jerky Boys of Russia,” after an American duo who put out recordings of their prank phone calls in the 1990s. They have made faux calls to British singer Elton John, who thought he was speaking to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and others. “These individuals are known for pranking high-level officials and celebrities, particularly those who are supportive of an agenda that is not in line with their governments. In this case, the energy security […]

Will The Global Puppet Masters Destroy Ukraine’s Gas Transit Business

20 Jan 2017   Ukraine

Ukraine is about to lose its precious gas-transit business as its state-run gas giant struggles to function as the puppet of multiple geopolitical players and agendas, and it’s not likely to get any more help from Washington—nor Europe. New pipelines could mean the end of Ukraine’s lucrative gas transit business, warns Ukrainian state-run Naftogaz head Andriy Kobolev, and the country stands to lose between US$800 million and US$1 billion in annual revenues, with the company’s profits for the last year coming in at $805 million. The existing agreement between Russia and Ukraine for gas transit expires in 2019, but the Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipeline projects may ensure that Russia gives up on Ukraine entirely, and hedges its bets with new European partners. The Pipeline Threat The Turkish Stream and Nord Stream 2 pipelines will bypass Ukraine to bring Russian gas to Europe. Russian state-run Gazprom is […]

Kiev vows to avoid Russian gas pressures

14 Sep 2016   Russia, Ukraine

Past contractual pressures from Russia won’t resurface as Ukraine becomes energy independent in the next five years, the prime minister said. Ukrainian Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman told local leaders the oil and natural gas industry in the nation was recovering to the point that domestic reserves could be used to satisfy demand . “After five years, we should get complete energy independence,” he said. Ukraine is one of the Eastern European countries rich in shale natural gas . Fledgling hydraulic fracturing campaigns have emerged over the past five years, though impediments to doing business like higher taxes in the country led some companies to pull the plug. Ukraine has around 21 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves, though […]

Russia’s Gazprom cuts pressure in pipeline taking gas to EU: Naftogaz Ukrayiny

24 Aug 2016   Russia, Ukraine

Ukraine’s national energy company, said Russian company Gazprom has reduced the pressure in pipelines carrying its natural gas to markets in Europe for the second time in a month. “Naftogaz is concerned by Gazprom’s systemic violation of terms of the transit contract on providing acceptable pressure at an entry point,” Naftogaz said Monday. Gazprom, which moves about half its Europe-bound gas supplies via Ukrainian pipelines, reduced the pressure at the key Sudzha entry point to 53.5 atm on Monday, according to Naftogaz. The pressure dropped from 54.5 atm on Sunday, 57.2 atm Saturday and 61.1 atm last Friday. Article Continues below… European Gas Daily is a flagship Platts publication that delivers crucial competitive intelligence across the entire European gas marketplace. It keeps you […]

Energy could be included in Canada-Ukraine trade deal

12 Jul 2016   Canada, Ukraine

Energy ties have the potential to strengthen under a newly-minted trade agreement between Canada and Ukraine, ministers said Monday. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Ukrainian counterpart, Volodymyr Groysman, signed a free-trade agreement in Kiev, which both sides said provides new opportunities from defense to energy. “By improving market access and creating more predictable conditions for trade, the Canada-Ukraine Free Trade Agreement will generate new opportunities for Canadians and Ukrainians alike,” Canadian Minister for International Trade Chrystia Freeland said in a statement. Bilateral trade last year increased nearly 14 percent last year to around $213 million, covering exports ranging from pharmaceuticals to coal. Canada relies heavily on the North American market for exports of oil and natural gas and […]

Halliburton, Schlumberger bid for fracking jobs in Ukraine: UkrGazVydobuvannia

17 Jun 2016   Shale Oil, Ukraine

Halliburton, Schlumberger and Weatherford are among nine companies that submitted bids to carry out hydraulic fracturing operations for Ukraine’s largest natural gas producer UkrGazVydobuvannia (UGV), the company said Thursday. UGV, a 100% owned subsidiary of state-owned Naftogaz Ukrayiny, plans to start using fracking techniques in 2016-2017 in order to boost domestic gas output as Ukraine seeks to eliminate gas imports by 2020. “Service companies with well-known names, teams of experienced professionals and decades of accumulated experience in the most extreme conditions are willing to come to Ukraine,” Oleksandr Romaniuk, the head of UGV, said in a statement. “They believe our company can make a breakthrough in the Ukrainian gas production.” UGV plans to buy 100 fracking jobs, but will increase the practice if the technique achieves good results. Ukraine aims to increase gas output by 7.5 Bcm to 27.4 Bcm/year in 2020 that together with energy conservation measures would […]

Ukraine sees Russian gas offer as too high, plans imports from Europe

10 Jun 2016   Ukraine

Ukraine is likely to ignore a recent Russian offer for gas supplies in the third quarter of 2016 in favor of buying elsewhere in Europe, Yury Vitrenko, a deputy head of Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz, said on Friday. Naftogaz said this week that it had expected to agree a new supply deal with Russia’s Gazprom for the winter period of 2016/17 but that the price would have to be “economically reasonable”. Vitrenko said on Friday that Russian energy officials had offered a price of $177 per 1,000 cubic meters (tcm), while the price for gas in Europe had decreased to less than $173. “Under these conditions we will not buy gas from Gazprom. We will buy […]

Despite Claims, Ukraine Not Free Of Russian Energy Dependence

26 Apr 2016   Ukraine

Now more than two years on since the revolutionary events on Maidan and Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea, Ukraine is still largely without its footing. Political infighting is again on the rise and the specter of massive corruption persists, stymying what have been positive, albeit small, steps toward reform. The country’s energy sector – but one of the shaky pillars of its future – is particularly directionless, oscillating between self-assurance and habit on its way to damaging ambiguity. Overshadowed by events in Syria, the situation in Ukraine remains less than pleasant. The Ukrainian hryvnia continues to founder , the nation’s inflation rate is second worst globally ahead of only Venezuela, and middling growth projections provide little hope for a nation whose GDP contracted nearly 10 percent last year. Further, fighting has intensified on the outskirts of Donetsk in recent weeks, culminating in the capture of a United Nations’ monitoring […]

AP Exclusive: Test finds Chernobyl residue in Belarus milk

25 Apr 2016   Nuclear, Ukraine

On the edge of Belarus’ Chernobyl exclusion zone, down the road from the signs warning “Stop! Radiation,” a dairy farmer offers his visitors a glass of freshly drawn milk. Associated Press reporters politely decline the drink but pass on a bottled sample to a laboratory, which confirms it contains levels of a radioactive isotope at levels 10 times higher than the nation’s food safety limits. That finding on the eve of the 30th anniversary of the world’s worst nuclear accident indicates how fallout from the April 26, 1986, explosion at the plant in neighboring Ukraine continues to taint life in Belarus. The authoritarian government of this agriculture-dependent nation appears determined to restore long-idle land to farm use – and in a country where dissent is quashed, any objection to the policy is thin. The farmer, Nikolai Chubenok, proudly says his herd of […]

30 Years After Chernobyl Disaster, an Arch Rises to Seal Melted Reactor

25 Apr 2016   Nuclear, Ukraine

Enter the Chernobyl zone, and you might expect the worst: Security guards at a checkpoint 19 miles away from the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident scan departing vehicles for signs of radiation, as wolfish strays linger around the checkpoint. But pass the derelict villages and collective farms evacuated after the disaster 30 years ago this month, and a new skyline emerges over the ill-fated nuclear plant. A workforce of around 2,500 people is finishing a massive steel enclosure that will cover Chernobyl’s reactor 4, where the radioactive innards of the nuclear plant are encased in a concrete sarcophagus hastily built after the disaster. The zone is now aglow with the reflective safety vests of construction workers. If all goes to plan, the new structure—an arch more than 350 feet high and 500 feet long—will be slid into place late next year over the damaged reactor and […]

Russia’s Gazprom says arbitration claims against Ukraine up to $31.76 billion

16 Mar 2016   Russia, Ukraine

Russian gas giant Gazprom said on Tuesday its total claims in Stockholm arbitration against Ukraine’s energy firm Naftogaz have increased to $31.76 billion. The Kremlin-controlled company said the new claims included $2.55 billion, which it said Ukraine had not paid as part of the “take-or-pay” clause for gas deliveries in third quarter 2015. (Reporting by Jack Stubbs and Vladimir Soldatkin; editing by Dmitry Solovyov)

Pipe dreams: Gazprom courts southern Europe to exclude Ukraine

7 Mar 2016   Europe, Russia, Ukraine

Russia’s Gazprom is counting on its deep natural gas ties with Italy to revive plans aimed at bypassing Ukraine as a transit state for politically sensitive gas shipments to Europe. But whether the tactic works is another matter. Having tried and so far failed to bolster pipeline links with the continent through Bulgaria and Turkey, Gazprom is running out of options to secure its strategic entry point into southern Europe, and with it any chance of cutting Ukraine out of the picture this decade, industry and government sources say. Undeterred, last week it announced new plans with Italian utility Edison and Greece’s DEPA to supply natural gas along the seabed of the Black Sea into Greece and Italy, from where it could […]

Truce Unravels as Fighting Picks Up in Ukraine

22 Feb 2016   Ukraine

Though overshadowed by the war in Syria , fighting in eastern Ukraine has picked up sharply in recent weeks, residents along the front line, commanders and European monitors say. The resumption of hostilities in Ukraine , with exchanges of machine gun and mortar fire across the front line up to levels not seen since last summer, suggests a willingness by Russia , which supports the rebels in eastern Ukraine, to sustain two conflicts at once. In late September, Russia began airstrikes in Syria on behalf of the government of President Bashar al-Assad. A cease-fire took hold here in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and the government on Sept. 1, which was apparently coordinated with Russia’s […]

Ukrainian Trucks Banned From Russia

15 Feb 2016   Russia, Ukraine

Moscow has banned Ukrainian trucks from driving within Russia in retaliation of the blocking of Russian trucks in Ukraine, Russia’s transport ministry said Sunday. “The measures will be in place until a settlement of issues of illegal blocking of Russian auto vehicles on the Ukrainian territory by the Ukrainian side,” the transport ministry said in a prepared statement. The ban on trucks is the latest example of…

Weak Oil Prices Fuel Ukrainian Hopes of a More Conciliatory Russia

11 Feb 2016   Russia, Ukraine

Ukraine’s political elite is hoping that plummeting oil prices will restrain neighboring Russia’s interventionist ambitions—and give Western sanctions on Russia a bit more bite. Recent diplomatic overtures have raised hopes in Kiev that Moscow—which annexed Crimea and has supported eastern Ukrainian separatists in a conflict that has claimed more than 9,000 lives—is charting a somewhat more conciliatory course. With crude about $30 a barrel, Ukrainian officials are cautiously optimistic that Russian President Vladimir Putin and his oil-dependent government will be forced to rein in a muscular foreign policy. “If you have money, you can be macho,” said Boris Lozhkin, the head of the administration of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. On the official level, relations between Moscow and Kiev remain extremely cold. Direct flights don’t operate between the two capitals, and the two sides still trade strong rhetoric. In a recent interview with Germany’s Bild newspaper, the Ukrainian president […]

Ukraine fines Gazprom $3.5 billion for abuse of transit market

22 Jan 2016   Russia, Ukraine

The head of Ukraine’s competition authority said on Friday that the watchdog had decided to fine Russian gas company Gazprom 85 billion hryvnias ($3.5 billion) for abusing its monopoly on the Ukrainian gas transit market. “A decision has been taken in relation to the abuse of the monopoly on the transit market … by Gazprom as a monopoly buyer. The amount of the fine is 85 billion hryvnia,” Yury Terentyev said in a post on Facebook. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by David Goodman)

Ukraine challenges Russian gas project

8 Jan 2016   Ukraine

Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz said it filed an official complaint in Europe, arguing Russian gas pipeline expansion plans would limit competition. Russian energy company Gazprom in September signed a shareholder agreement on the development of the second phase of the twin Nord Stream pipeline system with his counterparts at German energy companies BASF and E.ON, as well as those from French company ENGIE, Austria’s OMV and Royal Dutch Shell. Under the proposed expansion, two more lines would be added to the existing network running through the Baltic Sea to the German coast, roughly doubling the pipeline’s net capacity. Naftogaz said its complaint against the project was transferred to the European Commission. The company said the project would not align with […]

Hackers shut down Ukraine power grid

6 Jan 2016   Ukraine

Hackers brought down the power supply to hundreds of homes in Ukraine last week, in a cyber attack believed to be the first ever to result in a power outage.  The Ukrainian energy ministry said it was probing a “suspected” cyber attack on the power grid, targeting several regional power companies, which the country’s intelligence service blamed on “Russian special services”. Moscow has not responded to the allegation.   John Hultquist, head of cyber espionage intelligence at iSight partners, a US-based threat intelligence company, said it was the first time the cyber security industry had seen a cyber attack result in the shutdown of power.  Experts have warned for years that the industrial systems that control critical infrastructure such as power plants are vulnerable. Malicious software, known as malware, has previously been discovered on these networks, but no one has yet linked these infections to an outage.  Mr Hultquist said that the versions of the malware used in the attack, called BlackEnergy, point to Russian hackers known as the Sandworm team who have previously infected power suppliers in the US and Europe. The malware was found in the west in 2014 and is thought to have been wiped from the targets’ networks.

Kiev ‘ready to pay price’ after Russia curbs trade ties over EU deal

17 Dec 2015   Ukraine

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko attends a joint news conference with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker (unseen) at the EU Council in Brussels, Belgium, December 16, 2015. Ukraine is “ready to pay the price” for a trade deal with the European Union, President Petro Poroshenko said on Wednesday after Moscow moved to restrict its own trade ties with Kiev over the accord that is due to take effect on Jan.1. Controversy over the EU-Ukraine trade deal was the initial trigger of unrest in Kiev that culminated in the ousting of a Moscow-allied president in 2014. Russia then annexed Crimea and backed a separatist revolt in eastern Ukraine in moves that led to Moscow’s worst standoff with the West in decades. As Poroshenko arrived in Brussels, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his government to suspend a free trade zone with Ukraine from Jan. 1, making […]

Ukraine Power Supplies to Crimea Are Partially Restored, Russia Says

9 Dec 2015   Ukraine

Power supplies to Crimea from Ukraine were partially restored Tuesday, Russian and Ukrainian officials said, easing a two-week power outage that left much of the disputed peninsula without electricity. Ukrainian officials turned on one power line early Tuesday out of four that had been brought down by unknown people in late November , cutting off supplies from Ukraine to Crimea, which was annexed by Russia last year. Ukrainian activists, protesting Moscow’s actions on the peninsula, have since blocked engineers from repairing all but one of the power lines. They were still guarding other downed pylons, the government of the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson said in a statement. The outage has highlighted Crimea’s reliance on Ukraine following its annexation by Russia . Crimea, home to some two million people, depends on Ukraine for around 80% of its electricity, 85% of its water, and much of its trade. The Russian […]

Grim reality sets in for Ukraine wheat crop: Braun

2 Dec 2015   Climate, Ukraine

Ukraine’s 2016 wheat crop is now sailing into uncharted waters given both the significantly missed planting target and a record percentage of crops in poor condition. Ukraine, the world’s sixth-largest wheat exporter, has faced one of the most challenging winter planting campaigns this year than ever before in the wake of a historic drought that set in during late summer. As a result, planting progress and plant emergence has been considerably behind normal pace all along, and crop health has suffered immensely. The outlook was rather gloomy as of early November, but hope still remained that Ukrainian farmers could boost winter wheat area throughout the month with help from favorable weather, which would also presumably help improve overall plant conditions. But despite the seemingly supportive weather […]

Ukraine seeks imports of anthracite coal as shortages loom

28 Nov 2015   Coal, Ukraine

Ukraine is seeking extra imports of anthracite coal from South Africa and other sources on looming shortages after supplies from Russia and territories controlled by pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk regions were suspended, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn said Friday. “At the moment, the supply of coal from the uncontrolled territories, as well as from Russia, is limited,” he told lawmakers. “Coal stocks at our thermal power plants are currently enough to keep working for at least a month.” The minister said two ships carrying 168,000 mt and 80,000 mt of anthracite respectively, are heading to Ukraine from South Africa and expected to arrive on December 4 and December 12. “In December we will receive 250,000 mt of anthracite, which will ensure that our energy system is working steadily during the next 45-50 days,” Demchyshyn said. Article continues below… Platts Coal Trader International is the only […]

Crimea Power Outages Move Into Sixth Day

28 Nov 2015   Ukraine

Activists continue to block repair work to power lines in southern Ukraine that supply electricity to Crimea, as power outages in the disputed peninsula move into their sixth straight day, the country’s state energy company said Friday. Ukrenergo said that pro-Ukrainian activists, who had previously allowed repairs to start on one of four damaged pylons, were preventing work from being completed. Negotiations with the activists could take place Friday, the company said. Four electricity pylons in the Ukrainian region of Kherson were blown up over the weekend, leaving much of Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Moscow in 2014, in the dark. Crimea’s First Deputy Prime Minister Mikhail Sheremeta said Friday that the peninsula was receiving electricity through an undersea cable from mainland Russia. But Moscow later said those claims were untrue […]

Russia-Ukraine row over Crimea escalates as Moscow cuts coal to Kiev

27 Nov 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Russia has begun to restrict coal supplies to Ukraine, Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn told parliament on Friday, days after the Kremlin threatened to punish Kiev for a power blackout of Russian-annexed Crimea. Demchyshyn said pro-Russian separatists who control coal mines in eastern Ukraine had also halted coal supplies. He said Kiev had one month of its own coal supplies left and was seeking alternative supplies from South Africa. “Coal supplies have been restricted from uncontrolled territory (Donbass) and from Russia,” said Demchyshyn. “Right now our power stations have enough coal reserves in storage to last for at least one month. But in the long-term problematic questions will arise.” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said on Tuesday that Russia might cut coal supplies to punish Ukraine for what he said was its deliberate refusal to help rebuild power lines to Crimea, which were blown up by unknown saboteurs. Russia seized […]

Russia Halts Natural Gas Supplies to Ukraine as Payments End

26 Nov 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Russia halted natural gas supplies to Ukraine after its western neighbor said it wouldn’t buy more this year amid ample supply. Ukraine’s NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy received its final prepaid volumes of Russian gas on Wednesday, Alexey Miller, chief executive officer of Gazprom PJSC, said in a statement, warning that the halt could threaten supplies to the rest of Europe during freezing weather. The European Commission said transit isn’t a concern at the moment, while Ukraine said it will keep shipping fuel to Europe strictly in line with the transit contract. “During the past 18 months, we have demonstrated that we can ensure stable transmission of Russian gas regardless of whether we get it for Ukraine or not, both in the summer and the winter seasons,” Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev said in an e-mailed statement. “At this time a year ago we did not buy any gas from Russia, having […]

Ukraine says it will buy more Russian gas when needed

26 Nov 2015   Russia, Ukraine

 A Ukrainian natural gas company said it expects to receive prepaid gas from Russia and future deliveries may come as demand levels dictate. Russian natural gas company Gazprom said it’s received no request for additional gas from Ukrainian company Naftogaz. Since no payment was made for future supplies, Gazprom said it halted deliveries to the Ukrainian market. Gazprom in 2006 and 2009 cut gas supplies to Ukraine in part because of contractual disputes. The energy row spilled over into regional politics, putting former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the cross-hairs for her role in breaking the 2009 impasse over bilateral contracts. Naftogaz said in a statement it expects to receive all prepaid volumes […]

Russia says to halt gas supplies to Ukraine, mulling coal cut off over Crimea

24 Nov 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Moscow would cut gas supplies to Ukraine on Tuesday or Wednesday because Kiev had not paid up front for more gas and might also halt coal supplies to Ukraine in retaliation for a power blackout of Crimea. Alexander Novak, in comments to Vesti FM radio station, was speaking as Russian-annexed Crimea continued to rely on emergency generators to meet its basic power needs after unknown saboteurs blew up electricity pylons supplying the peninsula with electricity over the weekend. Pro-Ukrainian activists have so far prevented repairs to the damaged pylons and associated power lines. “Today or tomorrow gas deliveries will be stopped because of lack of advance payment,” said Novak, saying Ukraine was in any case using very little Russian gas. […]

Ukraine Says Will Restore Power to Crimea After Pylons Blown Up

24 Nov 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Ukraine said Monday it would restore electricity to Russian-annexed Crimea within three days after pylons were blown up, but appeared to make a major concession to activists blocking repair work by imposing a temporary ban on all commercial traffic to the contested region. Pylons supplying electricity to Crimea from southern Ukraine were blown up over the weekend , leaving much of the peninsula without power. While the Ukrainian Interior Ministry still hadn’t identified suspects in the explosions, pro-Ukrainian activists—many of them from the minority Muslim community of Crimean Tatars—continued to block repair works on the pylons Monday. “We are prepared to repair the power lines within 72 hours,” Ukraine’s Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn told the Interfax news agency. “At this time, workers are unable to conduct repair works; explosives have been discovered at those [power] lines.” The activists have staked out the border between mainland Ukraine and Crimea […]

State of Emergency Declared in Crimea

23 Nov 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Authorities declared a state of emergency on Sunday in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula annexed by Russia last year, after pylons supplying energy to the territory from Ukraine were blown up. Russia’s Energy Ministry said almost two million people had been left without power. The local energy ministry said that between 20% and 30% of the peninsula was supplied with electricity, almost half of that by generators. Russian media outlets reported that pylons in the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson had been blown up by pro-Ukrainian activists. The Russian ministry didn’t mention the cause of the outage. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry confirmed that the pylons had been blown up and pledged to help facilitate repair work. Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine last year , and the territory still receives 85% of its water and 80% of its electricity from mainland Ukraine. The U.S. and Europe imposed trade sanctions on […]

Ukraine looks to shed dependence on Russian LPG

4 Nov 2015   Ukraine

Ukraine, an important consumer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is tentatively turning to Western suppliers as it aims to wean itself off Russian and Belarusian imports. Political strife between Ukraine and Russia means there is a risk of disruption, or a complete halt, of Russian LPG supplies as has happened with natural gas in the past, traders say. Consumption of propane and butane in Ukraine is growing at a rate of 15 percent a year on average and analysts forecast a 60 percent increase to 1.6 million tonnes by 2020. They expect the share of imported LPG to rise to 80 percent from 60 percent now. LPG is becoming more popular with motorists as it has been 40 to 50 percent cheaper than gasoline throughout 2015, market participants say. Russia and Belarus […]

Ukraine looks to shed dependence on Russian LPG

31 Oct 2015   Ukraine

Ukraine, an important consumer of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is tentatively turning to Western suppliers as it aims to wean itself off Russian and Belarusian imports. Political strife between Ukraine and Russia means there is a risk of disruption, or a complete halt, of Russian LPG supplies as has happened with natural gas in the past, traders say. Consumption of propane and butane in Ukraine is growing at a rate of 15 percent a year on average and analysts forecast a 60 percent increase to 1.6 million tonnes by 2020. They expect the share of imported LPG to rise to 80 percent from 60 percent now. LPG is becoming more popular with motorists as it has been 40 to 50 percent cheaper than gasoline throughout 2015, market participants say. Russia and Belarus account for over 90 percent of LPG imports but Ukraine has recently made trial purchases in eastern […]

Sounds of War Recede to Background in an Eastern Ukraine City

22 Oct 2015   Ukraine

While his children played a popular Russian card game called “Fool ” on a sand-flecked blanket, beside a razor-wire fence warning “Do Not Enter — Mines,” Sergei Sovyak reflected on what has become of his battered, seaside city. “These days, the war is happening on a kind of political chessboard,” said Mr. Sovyak, a metallurgist. “It has become a conflict in the mind. In reality, in everyday life, there is no war anymore.” There is no doubt that life has changed considerably in this rusting industrial port on the Sea of Azov. Earlier this year, a fierce separatist offensive , backed by Moscow, threatened to overrun the city and create a land bridge connecting Russia with the Crimean Peninsula […]

Ukraine Sees Signs Truce Can Last as Putin Juggles War and Peace

22 Oct 2015   Ukraine

As Vladimir Putin’s bombing campaign in Syria enters a fourth week, Ukrainian officials are increasingly hopeful the country’s cease-fire with pro-Russian separatists will lead to a lasting peace. The financial penalties the U.S. and EU imposed on Russia for backing the insurgency finally appear to be curbing’s Putin’s appetite for the rebellion, according to Borys Lozhkin, President Petro Poroshenko’s chief of staff. “Putin wants sanctions lifted as soon as possible, so he’s showing readiness to implement Minsk II,” Lozhkin said in an interview in Kiev, referring to the second truce agreement Ukraine reached with rebel leaders and Russia, in neighboring Belarus in February. If the accord holds, Ukraine will meet one of Russia’s key demands — passing constitutional changes giving regions more autonomy — but probably not until December, when Putin’s intentions become more clear, Lozhkin said. “We’ll only know in a month or two if Putin’s readiness for […]

Gazprom Restarts Gas Deliveries to Ukraine

13 Oct 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Russian state natural-gas company PAO Gazprom resumed deliveries to Ukraine on Monday, after halting exports in July, reducing the risk of disruption to supplies to the rest of Europe this winter. Deliveries were resumed after Ukraine paid $234 million of a total $500 million prepayment expected for gas in October, Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller said. Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn confirmed to Interfax news agency that deliveries had resumed early on Monday. Ukraine and Russia finalized, but didn’t yet sign, a preliminary gas agreement last month, which would bring down the cost of Russian gas for Ukraine to that paid by neighboring European Union countries until March. In return, Ukraine promised to ensure that Russia can ship gas to the EU without interruptions and to pump 2 billion cubic meters of gas into underground storage facilities over the next month. The European Union has worked to bring […]

Ukraine, Russia Reach Preliminary Deal on Gas Supplies Through March

26 Sep 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Ukraine and Russia on Friday reached a preliminary deal on natural-gas supplies to the conflict-torn country until the end of March that, if implemented, will avoid potential cutoffs and shortages for Ukraine and the rest of Europe this winter. The agreement, which still needs to be approved by the government in Kiev, brings down the cost of Russian gas for Ukraine to the same price that is paid by neighboring European Union countries until March. In return, Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn promised to ensure Russia can ship gas to the EU without interruptions and to pump 2 billion cubic meters of gas into underground storage facilities over the next month. “This is an important factor for a secure time for the winter period,” said Alexander Novak, Russia’s energy minister. The European Commission, the EU’s executive, has been working for much of the year to get the two sides […]

Fighting Intensifies Along Eastern Ukraine Cease-Fire Line

19 Aug 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Fighting between government forces and Russian-backed rebels in eastern Ukraine has escalated sharply in recent days, with each side blaming the other for the violence. At least nine people were killed in artillery strikes on Monday in villages and towns on both sides of a cease-fire line, and United States officials have said that one three-day period of fighting along the front last week was the most intense since a February cease-fire . Neither side has openly renounced the cease-fire, but European monitors of the accord say both have been pulling heavy weapons out of storage sites and putting them to use. The United States State Department blamed Russia and pro-Russian rebels for the uptick in violence. American […]

Russia Says Ukraine Preparing New Offensive Against Separatists

17 Aug 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov said on Monday he suspected Ukraine was preparing a new offensive against pro-Moscow separatists in east Ukraine following an upsurge in fighting. Clashes near the port city of Mariupol and the rebel-held town of Gorlivka have put further strain on a fragile ceasefire between Ukrainian government forces and the separatists. “We are worried by the developments in recent days which strongly recall preparation for more military actions,” Lavrov told a news conference, accusing Kiev of breaking the terms of a ceasefire. “It was like that in August last year when Ukrainian soldiers received the order to attack. … It was like that in January of this year. One shouldn’t be experimenting and trying one’s luck, one should simply fulfill what was agreed in Minsk.” Both sides have withdrawn artillery guns, tanks and other heavy weapons under the terms of the Minsk peace […]

Ukraine surge in fighting violates ceasefire – EU

12 Aug 2015   Ukraine

Ukraine’s government says its forces have come under attack near the key city of Mariupol The European Union says escalating attacks on government-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine violate a February peace deal with pro-Russia separatists. “The Minsk Agreements must be implemented in good faith, starting with full observation of the ceasefire and genuine withdrawal of heavy weapons,” the EU said. Ukraine on Monday accused rebels of carrying out the heaviest shelling since the truce was agreed. Russia denies any role in the fighting. However, Ukraine and the West say there is a growing body of evidence pointing to direct involvement from Moscow. Rebel leaders have denied firing on Ukrainian positions and accuse government forces of violating the ceasefire themselves some 40 times over a 24-hour period. Some of the worst fighting was near the village of Starohnativka, 50km (31 miles) north of the strategic port of Mariupol. Ukraine says […]

Ukraine crisis: Why a lack of parts has hamstrung Russia’s military

8 Aug 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Ukraine stopped delivering engines for the military versions Russia’s defence firms have been hit not only by Western sanctions but also by a breakdown in business ties with Ukraine. For decades under Soviet rule, Russia’s strategic industries had close links with partners in Ukraine, all centrally controlled from Moscow. But relations soured last year, with Ukraine’s pivot to the West, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the pro-Russian insurgency in eastern Ukraine. The EU and US banned military exports to Russia, saying Moscow was supplying the insurgents with sophisticated heavy weapons and regular troops. Moscow denied the allegations. Equipment blocked Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin told parliament that Ukrainian components were used in the production of 186 types of Russian military equipment. That is a serious problem, he admitted, and Moscow could resolve it only by 2018. Back in June 2014, Ukrainian President […]

EU extends loan to assist with Ukrainian reforms

23 Jul 2015   Europe, Ukraine

The European Commission said Wednesday it agreed to extend financial assistance to Ukraine, a key energy transit country, to help with economic reforms. The commission, acting on behalf of the European Union, said it disbursed $650 million in assistance to Ukraine to address “urgent financing needs” necessary for economic stability . The loan is aimed at steering Ukraine through energy and financial sector reforms. “Through this financial assistance, the EU is proud to support the courageous reform agenda pursued by the government,” Valdis Dombrovskis, European commissioner for the euro, said in a statement. “I am confident that the implementation of those ambitious reforms will help Ukraine exploit its many assets to the full, so as to foster strong and sustainable economic growth for the benefit of all […]

Ukraine considers Kazakh gas transit options

18 Jul 2015   Kazakhstan, Ukraine

 Trade agreements with Kazakhstan may include the possibility of receiving natural gas shipments sent through the country, Ukraine’s government said. The Ukrainian government said Friday it was working to develop trade and economic deals with Kazakhstan. Arrangements were drafted during bilateral economic sessions attended by deputy ministers on both sides. Kiev said the terms of the agreement call on representatives from each country to examine the potential for energy cooperation. “The participants of the meeting also agreed to study the issue of supply to Ukraine of Kazakhstan natural gas and transit through the territory of Kazakhstan of Turkmen and Uzbek natural gas,” the Ukrainian government said in a statement. An April report from the International Energy Agency said a more liberalized energy sector […]

Bypassing Ukraine will be costly for Russia’s Gazprom: analysts

17 Jul 2015   Russia, Ukraine

Russia’s plans to drop Ukraine as a route for pumping natural gas to Europe will still leave state-run Gazprom facing about $1 billion in annual transit fees to Slovakia and Bulgaria for years to come, analysts and industry sources say. Russia wants to circumnavigate Ukraine to pipe its gas to Europe because of pricing disagreements, which at times have led to disruptions in supplies to the European Union, but doing so will come at a cost which some analysts say is too high. Billions of euros will be needed to build and expand alternative routes, and the route of the existing pipeline means transit fees to Slovakia and Bulgaria will have to be paid by Gazprom even if Russia manages to bypass Ukraine by […]

LNG deliveries mulled for Ukrainian market

16 Jul 2015   Ukraine

 A Texas-based company, led in part by a former Conoco Phillips veteran, said it was reviewing the prospects of shipping liquefied natural gas to Ukraine. Frontera Resources Corp. said it signed a memorandum of understanding with Ukraine’s state-run energy company Naftogaz to work in the upstream, or exploration and production, sector in Ukraine as well as study the potential to deliver liquefied natural gas from its work in Caucasus country Georgia. “I strongly believe that our closer work with Naftogaz will open avenues to strategically supply Ukraine with LNG from across the Black Sea,” Steve Nicandros, former Conoco brass and Frontera’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. “This will serve to diversify the country’s supply […]

IMF Warns Proposed Legislation in Ukraine Threatens Reforms

13 Jul 2015   Ukraine

The International Monetary Fund warned Sunday that recently proposed legislation in Ukraine threatens to undermine reforms critical to the success of a $40 billion bailout package for the country. Poul Thomsen, director of the IMF’s European department, said in a statement that seven pieces of legislation up for review in Ukraine’s parliament next week could roll back important reforms on pensions and energy tariffs that Ukrainian lawmakers passed earlier this year. The fund also condemned a separate law passed by parliament earlier this month that would allow Ukrainians to repay foreign currency loans at a more favorable exchange rate, a move some experts have said could collapse the country’s banking system. President Petro Poroshenko has signaled he will veto the foreign-exchange bill. The IMF’s concerns come as Ukraine continues to struggle with a buckling economy, as the armed conflict with Russia-backed rebels persists in the country’s east. Ukraine’s […]

Ukraine raises gas imports from Slovakia: company

10 Jul 2015   Ukraine

Ukraine will take about 21 percent more gas from Slovakia to boost deliveries to underground storage after the country suspended imports from Russia over a pricing dispute, transport monopoly Ukrtransgaz said on Friday. Ukraine plans to import 16.5 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas on Friday from Slovakia, up from daily imports of 13.6 mcm so far this month, a spokesman for the company said. He said Ukraine pumped 27 mcm of gas per day from July 1-9 and collected 12.2 billion cubic meters of gas in reserves as of July 10. Ukrainian energy officials say Ukrtransgaz must store about 60 mcm of gas per day to ensure it has enough gas to meet demand during the winter and to guarantee the transit of Russian gas to European consumers. With Ukraine’s economy close to bankruptcy because of years of economic mismanagement and fighting against pro-Russian rebels in the country’s […]