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MOSCOW, October 22 /TASS/. The cold season has started in Ukraine on Wednesday amidst gas shortages for internal consumption and unresolved gas dispute with Russia. Schools, kindergartens and hospitals were the first to start receiving heat. Boiler houses will start heating households and apartment blocks by the end of the week, Ukrainian Vice-Premier Volodymyr Groysman said.
Ukraine’s National Commission for Regulation of Energy Tariffs said heating prices had to be raised to $0.9 per square meter to enable heating plants to compensate their expenses in the absence of state subsidies. Unlike in previous years, when the consumer cost for heating was divided equally between twelve months, Ukrainians will have to pay for the heating only until the end of the cold season.
Ukraine is short of 5 billion cubic meters of gas to get over the winter period, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Wednesday, noting there were 17 billion cubic meters of gas in gas storage reservoirs. Kiev is planning to buy the needed volumes from Russia or the European Union if a regular round of trilateral gas talks scheduled for October 29 failed. According to the Association of European UGS operators (GSE), its gas stocks have dwindled by 0.06% over the past week.
Naftogaz Chief Serhiy Pereloma said that gas consumption in Ukraine was expected to fall by 24% this year since 2013. Ukraine’s demand in the current cold season is estimated at 26.7 billion cubic meters, of which 10 billion cubic meters will be extracted in Ukraine, 5.7 billion cubic meters will be received as reverse supplies from Europe while the remaining volumes will be taken from gas storage reservoirs.
According to Ukraine’s Energy Ministry, Ukraine consumed 50.4 billion cubic meters of gas, of which almost 26 billion cubic meters came from Russia, in 2013. Ukraine produced 21 billion cubic meters of gas on its own and imported the rest from Europe.
Prime Minister Yatsenyuk said in September that Ukraine needed to purchase approximately 25 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia irrespective of season. Reverse supplies from Poland, Slovakia and Hungary account for about 25 billion cubic meters (10 billion cubic meters from Slovakia and 5 billion cubic meters from other sources via Poland and Hungary).