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Ukraine stores 16 bcm of gas, 14% increase since last year

September 17, 2014, 18:16 UTC+3 KIEV
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KIEV, September 17. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine has stored 16.3 billion cubic meters of gas in underground storage facilities as of September 15, Ukrtransgaz said on Wednesday.

This represents a 14% increase from last year, it said.

“Ukraine has the largest underground gas storage facilities in Europe but they are only 51% filled,” Ukrtransgaz Board Chairman Igor Prokopov said.

Ukraine needs at least 20 billion cubic meters of gas in underground storage facilities to pass through the winter comfortably.

With daily reverse-flow gas supplies having reached 32 million cubic meters, Ukraine by November 1 will store about 17.5 of 18 billion cubic meters of gas need for the country to live through the coming winter, Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuriy Prodan said earlier this month.

Ukraine has 12 underground gas storage facilities with a combined capacity of about 31 billion cubic meters. They are an integral part of Ukraine’s gas supply and gas transit systems.

In 2014, Kiev is planning to receive about 16 billion cubic meters of gas from Europe in reverse-flow mode. The biggest volumes - 8-10 billion cubic meters - will come from Slovakia. Poland can provide no more than 1.5 billion cubic meters and Hungary 5 billion cubic meters at the most.

On September 2, Ukraine began reverse-flow gas imports from Europe via Slovakia using the upgraded Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline.

Kiev is hoping to receive 27 million cubic meters of gas from Slovakia daily to bring the annual flow to about 10 billion cubic meters.

However, Eustream, the operator of the Slovak gas transportation system, said it could only guarantee the supply of 6.4 billion cubic meters of gas a year to Ukraine from October 1 (17.6 million cubic meters a day).

The pipeline’s capacity is no more than 27 million cubic meters of gas a day or 10 billion cubic meters a year.

The country is also exploring possibilities for reverse-flow gas supplies from Romania. Supplies from four destinations will bring up to 30 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine annually. Slovakia is the most preferable among them.

The European Union has promised assistance to Ukraine in diversifying natural gas supplies.

Kiev is planning to buy about 290 million cubic meters of gas in Europe in reverse mode (about 140 million cubic meters will be delivered through Poland and the rest through Hungary).

Ukraine has been receiving natural gas in reverse flow from Europe since November 1, 2012. The gas is supplied across the Ukrainian border with Poland under a contract with from German RWE.

Ukraine’s annual gas consumption in 2013 was about 50 billion cubic meters. It imported almost 26 billion cubic meters from Russia and 2.1 billion cubic meters came from Europe, specifically from Austria, Germany, Poland, and Hungary.

Ukraine’s own gas production stood as 21 billion cubic meters.

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