Ukraine to participate in EU scheme to buy natural gas
24 March 2023
Ukraine will participate in a European Union scheme to jointly buy natural gas on the global market. The news comes as European countries look ahead to next winter, having replenished gas inventories over the past few months amid mild winter weather.
There are concerns that colder weather next year, combined with gas prices that remain volatile, could cause considerable challenges for buyers of the fuel. Against this backdrop, EU countries are planning to sign their first joint gas contracts in the coming months, with the aim of replenishing inventories before demand peaks again. And Ukraine will take part, despite not being an EU member, as Russia’s war against the country continues.
“Ukraine has indicated that on top of their own domestic production, they might need, for a secure winter, another 2 billion cubic metres [70.6 Bcf],” EU Commissioner for Energy Kadri Simson told a news conference earlier this month.
Initial estimates from Ukraine’s state-owned energy firm, Naftogaz, put the country’s gas production at 636 Bcf (1.8 × 1010 m3) in 2022, down from 699 Bcf (2.0 × 1010 m3) the previous year.
Plans for joint gas purchases come as the EU pursues an expansion of its regasification capacity to 8.0 Tcf (2.3 × 1011 m3) by 2024, up from 6.3 Tcf (1.8 × 1010 m3) currently in an effort to end its reliance on imports of Russian gas. European Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic said in March that the bloc was on track to meet this target.
Even as Naftogaz is searching for natural gas supplies on the global market, a division of the company said it placed into production a well that is now yielding 340,000 cubic meters of natural gas per day. The company did not give the location of the well, which it said was drilled to a depth of 5950 meters in a field that is 85% depleted after 45 years in operation.