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KIEV, January 16 (Itar-Tass) —— Ukraine plans to use coal at its thermal power plants instead of natural gas, which will make it possible to save about six billion cubic metres of gas a year, Ukrainian Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Boiko said on Monday.
“It will take about a year to complete the work aimed at the switch-over to the use of coal- water mixture at the thermal power plants of Ukraine,” he said, adding that the work have already been started.
“Now, we develop this technology jointly with China’s partners,” the minister said.
Last week, Ukraine Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said that it is more beneficial for Ukraine to use coal at its thermal power plants, than Russia’s natural gas, which the country buys at the price of 416 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic metres. “If we speak about the use of coal instead of gas, then it will be more economically advantageous to burn coal,” he said. “However, if the gas price drops, for instance to 220 U.S. dollars [per 1,000 cubic metres], then it will be inefficient to use coal [at the thermal power plants],” the Ukrainian prime minister said.
In Azarov’s words, Ukraine set the task to cut consumption of Russia’s gas this year. “We held related meeting and worked out the list of persons responsible for the implementation of specific tasks. The work is in progress,” he said.
Over the past two years, the government focused on the development of the country’s coal industry, which made it possible to achieve coal surplus in 2011, that reached five million tonnes.