Head of Naftogaz Yuriy Vitrenko predicted how the country will survive the coming winter

Yuriy Vitrenko spoke about preparations for the heating season

Yuriy Vitrenko spoke about preparations for the heating season / Photo: Getty Images, Collage: Today

Because of the war between Russia and Ukraine, all experts and politicians without exception predict a difficult heating season. The country faces many challenges: how to save GTS from Russian shellingwhat to do in cities where thermal power plants have been destroyed, where to get enough gas for heating and at what price to sell it to the population.

Answers to these questions “Today” tried to get from the head of “Naftogaz Ukrainy” Yuriy Vitrenko.

Do we have enough gas

Before the war, Ukraine consumed about 28 billion cubic meters of gas per year. Of these, we imported about 20 billion, the rest was mined domestically by both state and private companies.

This year, fuel consumption should be reduced. Firstly, many large industrial companies have suspended their activities, and secondly, part of the population has left the country and the return of these people remains in question. To pass the heating season, Ukraine will need 15-19 billion cubic meters of fuel.

In order not to provoke an even greater shortage, Ukraine introduced a ban on the export of gas and coal. But all the same, there may not be enough gas for a calm passage of the heating season.

“The government wants to create a fuel reserve of 19 billion cubic meters. These are the volumes that Ukraine needs, taking into account military risks. Moreover, if we approach the beginning of the season with reserves of 15 billion cubic meters, then this gas should also be enough with a margin. Now consumption has dropped significantly more than the decline in production in Ukraine,” said the head of Naftogaz, Yuriy Vitrenko.

According to him, as of June 14, there were about 10.5 billion cubic meters of fuel in the storage facilities. But even in order to accumulate 15 billion cubic meters, Naftogaz will have to buy fuel on the European market. At the same time, prices there are now quite high: about 1.5 thousand dollars per thousand cubic meters.

Money is needed to buy gas abroad. If we import fuel to the level of 19 billion cubic meters in underground storage facilities at the beginning of the heating season, then we need about 8 billion dollars. Among the options for resolving the issue is the receipt of gas from the United States under Lend-Lease.

Naftogaz is considering the possibility of both obtaining liquefied gas through European LNG terminals and financing for the purchase of gas on the European market. Alternatively, Ukraine will be able to return this gas two years after the victory, increasing its own production.

What will happen to the tariffs

The government promises to keep utility rates this year at the same level. After all, many people were left without work and cannot pay even at the rates that are set now. According to various estimates, the debt for housing and communal services exceeded UAH 100 billion.

However, gas in Europe remains expensive. And in the domestic market, its price is quite high. Therefore, if gas were sold at market prices, then its price for DH companies would be 4 times higher than last season – about UAH 29 per cubic meter. But the government promises to compensate for the difference in tariffs and make sure that fuel for heat producers costs no more than UAH 7.42 per cubic meter. In this case, heat tariffs should not increase.

“The government has developed, and the parliament adopted in the first reading a bill, according to which a ban on tariff increases for the population will be introduced. The government will compensate for the difference in tariffs,” says Yuriy Vitrenko.

What will happen in cities without thermal power plants

During the war against Ukraine, Russia destroys our infrastructure facilities. The enemy purposefully hits the objects of heat communal energy (TKE) in order to leave as many Ukrainians as possible without heat in the next heating season. Thermal power plants in Kremenchug, Akhtyrka and Chernigov were completely or partially destroyed.

It is clear that it will not be possible to quickly restore such large facilities as thermal power plants in these cities. And in times of war, this can be fraught with consequences: another missile salvo can destroy the utility again. Therefore, several options are being discussed – from the installation of individual gas heating in these cities to the construction of small gas boilers that will provide heat to certain areas.

“Russia is purposefully destroying infrastructure in order to put pressure on people. I will not disclose details so that the enemy does not shoot at new facilities again, but we have an understanding of how to provide heat even to those cities where thermal power plants and thermal power plants have been destroyed,” Yury summed up Vitrenko.

We previously wrote about Which of the Ukrainians runs the risk of being without heating in winter. Read about how a high discount rate will affect prices in the country. here.