Ukraine energy

A wave of patriotism is sweeping Russia following the annexation of Crimea. But will the euphoria last long enough to have Russians invest in the Black Sea peninsula and support the local economy by holidaying there? Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister, chaired a government meeting on Monday to discuss how to make Crimea a going concern.

It sounds like a daunting task. The Kremlin took a huge risk when it redrew the map of Ukraine last week and took possession of Crimea. Western powers have condemned the move as a land grab and are threatening Russia with painful sanctions and decades of international isolation. Continue reading »

Ukraine’s cash-strapped government may have secured short-term relief for its ailing economy by landing a 30 per cent discount on Russian natural gas imports prices late last month through a broader $20bn bailout agreement.

But recognising that Russia’s leadership could hike prices up again in the future, the administration of President Viktor Yanukovich does not appear to be dropping long-term plans to diversify gas supplies, crucial in breaking the energy inefficient economy’s longstanding heavy dependence on Russian fuel. Continue reading »

Firtash: solving problems

Ukraine’s parliament stuck the Yulia Tymoshenko to-do item into the “later” basket on Tuesday, putting off until Thursday a vote on legislation that could set in motion the release of the jailed opposition leader. Her freedom is a key condition set by the EU to sign historic free trade and association agreements next week in Vilnius. Tick, tock.

Yet while Ukraine’s handling of this case of “selective justice” drags on, there was also news out of Ukraine on Tuesday reinforcing the view that Russia – which is pressuring Ukraine to back away from the EU agreements – is meddling in the Ukraine gas market somewhat “selectively”, too. Continue reading »

Not so efficient

Ukrainian government officials say they are pushing ahead with a several-pronged plan to wean their energy-intensive economy off increasingly expensive Russian natural gas.

Luring in multi-billion-dollar investments from the world’s top energy companies – such as Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Eni and EDF – to explore the nation’s potentially vast hydrocarbon reserves is one long-term solution. In the interim, the country is looking to diversify supplies from the EU. But there’s another way: get efficient, and use less gas in the first place. Continue reading »

The Kremlin, and Russian gas giant Gazprom, must be watching events in Ukraine with a bit of concern.

Not only is Kiev calmly defying Russia’s bullying, steadily moving closer to breaking free of its eastwards geopolitical pull by looking to sign historic free trade and association agreements with the EU in late November, but it is also pushing two new energy deals which could cut sharply the reliance on imports of Gazprom’s gas. Continue reading »

Foreign media coverage of Ukraine has been dominated over the past year by the European Union’s repeated warnings: the signing of historic bilateral association and free trade agreements is conditional on the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko.

But lost in the Tymoshenko buzz is a desperate plea from Kiev to Brussels: help us import more gas from EU markets at lower prices than those charged by Gazprom, the Russian gas giant. Continue reading »

Ukraine appears to be shooting itself in the foot again. The stated goal of Viktor Yanukovich, president since 2010, has been to diversify away from increasingly expensive Russian gas imports, partly by boosting domestic production with the help of billion-dollar foreign investments.

But will the big energy companies be put off by allegations that existing energy producers are being coerced into stockpiling gas by the government? Continue reading »

By Riccardo Puliti of the EBRD

The use of nuclear power generates at least as much debate as electricity.

This is especially true in the case of Ukraine, where in 1986 the Chernobyl accident happened. The events demonstrated that in nuclear power generation safety always must be the utmost priority – from the first moment of operation to long after the active life of any nuclear reactor. Continue reading »

Courtesy of Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers

From the PR viewpoint, things went terribly wrong for Ukraine during an energy deal signing ceremony on Monday, intended in part to demonstrate to Russia’s Gazprom that Kiev was moving fast to build its first LNG terminal, and had big backers – and thereby give the country leverage in negotiations over gas prices.

Tragically, the much-sought-after leverage evaporated after a Spanish “negotiator” Jordi Sarda Bonvehi breached authority by signing a non-binding co-operation agreement with Ukraine on behalf of Gas Natural Fenosa, causing all sorts of bother, as reported by beyondbricsContinue reading »

Courtesy of Ukraine's Cabinet of Ministers

Ukraine’s government on Monday rolled out the red carpet for a highly-publicised signing ceremony for a landmark energy deal.

But the event, attended by Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and Energy Minister Yuriy Boyko, quickly spiralled into a fiasco, with denials and confusion over what has actually been signed – and by whom. Continue reading »