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KIEV, August 19. /TASS/. Ukraine’s coal production in 2015 has fallen to the levels registered during the Soviet Union’s fight against Nazi Germany in World War Two, economist and head of the Successful Country project Andrey Blinov said on Wednesday.
This year, "Ukraine produced 1.9 million tons of coal in March and registered the same minimum volume in June: Ukraine has never produced such a small volume after the war," the expert said.
Ukraine’s State Statistics Service reported earlier that coal extraction in the country had declined by 42% in July 2015 from the same month of the previous year to 2.2 million tons.
Overall, the country has extracted 15.5 million tons of coal since the beginning of 2015 or half the amount compared with the same period last year.
Ukraine’s thermal power plants face mounting problems with coal shortages while energy companies’ coal stocks are declining, Ukrainian Deputy Energy and Coal Minister Alexander Svetelik said late in July.
The deputy minister who spoke at a roundtable discussion on preparations for the upcoming heating season said the energy companies were required to have 2.7 million tons of coal at their warehouses while the available stocks stood at 1.5 million tons.
"We have contracts but coal, anthracite coal is not supplied," Svetelik said.
According to the deputy energy and coal minister, Kiev is no longer receiving anthracite coal supplies from the uncontrolled east Ukrainian Donbass region, and also from Russia and some other suppliers.
The problems with fuel supplies have forced Ukraine to halt all contracts for electricity exports while two units of the Burshtynskaya thermal power plant have had to switch from work for European consumers to the Ukrainian domestic market, the deputy energy minister said.
The Ukrainian Energy and Coal Ministry is currently deciding on switching three more units of this thermal power station to work on the Ukrainian energy market, he added.
When asked if rolling electricity blackouts could repeat as was the case during the last heating season, the deputy minister said no such measures were planned but the ministry had developed a relevant methodology.
"Hour-by-hour blackouts are not envisaged at all, if coal is supplied," he said.
The Slavyanskaya thermal power plant located in the Donbass region on the territory controlled by Kiev halted its generating capacities over the shortage of coal, Donbasenergo power utility reported in late July.
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk earlier said during a working trip to Kharkov "the situation in the energy sector is disastrous.".