Accumulated gas reserves in underground storage facilities have already reached more than 17.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) but Ukraine hopes to have more than 19 bcm of gas in storage ahead of the next heating season, said Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko.
“It is the government’s estimate that at the start of the next heating season, we must have gas reserves of 17 bcm in underground storage facilities and we are already approaching 18 bcm,” said the head of state energy firm Naftogaz.
“However, in order to make sure that this heating season runs smoothly and without interruptions, we want to pump in even more gas,” said Mr Vitrenko while visiting the Bilche-Volytsko-Uherske underground gas storage facility, Europe’s largest and the world’s fifth-largest underground gas storage facility with a capacity of 17 bcm.
“We are satisfied with the preparation process and we see that everything is working as it should,” said Mr Vitrenko said.
According to the Naftogaz CEO, additional gas volumes that have been planned for the season are necessary only to make sure there will be no gas shortages during the winter season, even where there is a potential additional consumption by thermal power plants that usually face the problem of insufficient coal supplies.
“Looking back at the previous years, except maybe the last one that was exceptional, we can see that we used to start the heating season with 16 bcm in underground storage,” said the CEO of Naftogaz.
“Today, we already have much more but we still want to reach over 19 bcm. With this secured, we will know that we can give a helping hand to power generation facilities, should they need gas for electric power generation,” added Mr Vitrenko.
Ukraine produces 65 per cent of the gas it consumes and imports the rest from Europe. Since 2015, the country no longer imports gas directly from Russia. Ukraine’s gas storage facilities are the largest in Europe, with more than 30 bcm of active capacity (28.8 per cent of Europe’s total).
In 2020, Ukraine’s underground gas storage facilities reached historical maximum capacity, containing 28.4 bcm due to strong injections by private traders looking for storage options after European storages were quickly filled.