European Parliament President calls for EU wide gas cap
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Ukraine is said to currently be in discussions with an American drilling company to begin pumping gas from its largely untapped reserves in a bid to supply Europe as the region faces an unprecedented energy crisis. The nation’s state-owned fossil fuels firm is believed to be preparing to market the reserves to international companies in the industry.
As an ex-Soviet state, Ukraine has several gas pipelines running through it from Russia to Europe.
One of the opening acts of the invasion in February was the targeted explosion of a gas pipeline in Kharkiv.
In recent weeks, Russia restarted its indiscriminate barrage of missile attacks on Ukrainian cities, including Kyiv, following an explosion on the Kerch Bridge that links Russia to Crimea, which included the targeting of Ukrainian infrastructure.
Since the invasion began nearly eight months ago, Europe has been gripped by an energy crisis, spurred on by the disruption in Ukraine and sanctions against Russia.
The EU – which until this year relied on Russia for around 40 percent of its gas consumption and around 27 percent of its oil – has since vowed to divest from Putin’s fossil fuels entirely.
The bloc had already begun to scale down its imports from Russia when, at the start of September, Gazprom announced that the Nord Stream pipeline would not restart piping gas to Germany after a temporary closure.
Nord Stream 2 – another pipeline that had been built along the Baltic Sea – was mothballed by Germany and the EU earlier in the year.
It is widely believed that Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, draws much of the funds for the war in Ukraine from oil and gas revenues generated by the nation’s state-owned energy behemoths.
However, without the supply from Russia, gas prices have skyrocketed, with many European nations bracing for a challenging winter of fuel potentially in short supply.
Now, according to the Telegraph, Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state fossil fuel giant, is preparing to market its national gas reserves and is already in talks with an unnamed US firm.
According to figures by BP and the US Energy Information Administration, Ukraine has the third largest proven natural gas reserves in Europe, after Russia and Norway.
Myron Wasylyk, an adviser to the chief executive of Naftogaz, told the paper it “soon will be marketing some of the projects”.
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He said: “We have a number of resources and gas reserves there that are basically the second largest in Europe. There is exploration potential there and also export potential there. We estimate there could be up to 40 billion cubic metres [of gas].
“There is a lot of potentials there, but it won’t come online until the second half of this decade.”
Mr Wasylyk added that the reserves, once tapped, would “absolutely” meet the needs of Ukraine’s European neighbours. As it looks to become an EU member, it may yet prove itself to be essential to the bloc’s economy.
Naftogaz has reportedly identified large gas reserves in various places, including the Dnipro-Donets rift that splits the country between east and west.
Though that borders the Donbas region – one of several parts of Ukraine Putin has laid claim to – but the bulk of the reserves are said to be to the east of the Dnipro River, and the Ukrainian armed forces have been making sweeping gains in the north and east in recent weeks.
Despite the horrific loss of life and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, Ukraine has already intimated that it wants to use it as a chance to rebuild the country for the better, in a bid to step out of Russia’s shadow.
This summer, Ukraine’s energy minister, German Galushchenko told European ministers: “The aggressive war Russia is waging against our country will leave our structure badly damaged. In some territory, [it is] completely ruined. We will need to rebuild.”
Such an effort “will demand huge efforts in investment, and at the same time it will become an opportunity to reshape the Ukrainian energy sector”.
He vowed to rebuild Ukraine’s energy industry “as it must be in Europe”, with the aim of being climate neutral by 2050, with around a quarter of its consumption comprising renewables.
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