Friday

24th Nov 2017

EU to help Ukraine cut Russia gas dependence

  • EU energy commissioner Sefcovic in Kiev on Friday (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The EU aims to help Ukraine become independent of Russian energy supplies in the next “three to four years”, Ukraine's prime minister and an EU commissioner have said.

Volodymyr Grossman, the prime minister, spoke of the plan in Kiev on Friday (2 September), while hosting the European Commission’s energy chief, Maros Sefcovic.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Ukrainian gas supplier Naftogaz is notoriously corrupt and inefficient (Photo: naftogaz.com)

He said Ukraine aims to “consume less energy and produce more energy” so that it can go from being “an energy importer to an energy exporter”, ensuring “energy independence” in “three or four years’ time”.

Among the reforms, it aims to split up its notoriously corrupt national gas distributor, Naftogaz, impose market prices for gas consumers, create an independent energy regulator, and create a new “energy efficiency fund”.

Sefcovic said that Brussels and Kiev are “very close” to finalising a new memorandum on EU support for the initiatives.

He said that if Ukraine created the efficiency fund, it would allow the EU to pay out a further €600 million in macro-financial assistance.

He also pledged to get the European Investment Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund to get behind the energy reforms.

“Would Ukraine manage to increase its energy efficiency levels to the EU average level, the savings achieved would be greater than the energy consumption of Spain over a whole year. Ukraine could thus even become an exporter of energy”, the EU commissioner said.

He added that part of the joint strategy would be to make sure Ukraine's poorest private households get relief from price hikes.

Ukraine currently imports just 18 percent of its natural gas directly from Russia, compared to 34 percent in 2014. The drop is due, in large part, to reverse-flow purchases from Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia.

But its real dependence on Russia is higher, given that 90 percent of Slovak gas and some 45 percent of Hungarian and Polish gas originates in Russia.

The dependence helps the Kremlin to exert political pressure on Kiev with cut-offs or threats of cut-offs in a situation set to get worse if Russia builds new pipelines under the Baltic Sea or Black Sea bypassing Ukraine, as well as its reverse-flow suppliers.

The Russian timeline for the projects to be up and running is 2020 - the same as Grossman's "three to four years".

With winter - the usual setting for Russian cut-offs - around the corner, Sefcovic added in Kiev that the EU commission is willing to mediate, as in the past, to keep the gas flowing to Ukraine and via Ukraine to Europe.

“The trilateral format [EU, Ukraine, and Russia] remains the most suitable for discussing gas supplies for the upcoming winter heating season. In this sense, I am also looking forward to meet with Russian authorities in the next weeks”, he said.

EU trying to relaunch Ukraine peace process

Foreign ministers said the EU is ready to help with elections in Eastern Ukraine, while France and Germany are trying to bring back Russia to the negotiating table.

EU still giving gas projects 'fast-track' status

The European Commission published on Friday a list of projects of common interest, which receive preferential treatment. Environmental lobbyists accuse the Commission of trying to fool the public with number games.

New EU law takes aim at Russia pipeline

Proposed law could complicate Russia's plan to build new gas pipeline to Germany, but jurisdictional issues mean project will be decided by Moscow and Berlin.

News in Brief

  1. Merkel: Germany remains 'active' in EU
  2. Work with Israel, Egypt on gas exploration, says Commission
  3. Only seven EU states have 'advanced' stage climate plans
  4. EU dashes integration hopes of eastern countries
  5. EU approves joint Irish electricity scheme
  6. German president to launch 'Grand Coalition' talks
  7. Irish opposition 'threatens national interest', says minister
  8. SPD drops opposition to grand coalition in Germany

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EPSU-Eurelectric-IndustriAllElectricity European Social Partners Stand up for Just Energy Transition
  2. European Friends of ArmeniaSignature of CEPA Marks a Fresh Start for EU-Armenia Relations
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Energy Ministers Pledge to Work More Closely at Nordic and EU Level
  4. European Friends of ArmeniaPresident Sargsyan Joined EuFoA Honorary Council Inaugural Meeting
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Leaders Should Press Azerbaijan President to End the Detention of Critics
  6. CECEKey Stakeholders to Jointly Tackle the Skills Issue in the Construction Sector
  7. European Friends of ArmeniaLaunch of Honorary Council on the Occasion of the Eastern Partnership Summit and CEPA
  8. Idealist Quarterly"Dear Politics, Time to Meet Creativity!" Afterwork Discussion & Networking
  9. EPSUStudy Finds TUNED and Employers in Central Governments Most Representative
  10. Mission of China to the EUAmbassador Zhang Ming Received by Tusk; Bright Future for EU-China Relations
  11. EU2017EEEstonia, With the ECHAlliance, Introduces the Digital Health Society Declaration
  12. ILGA EuropeFreedom of Movement For All Families? Same Sex Couple Ask EU Court for Recognition