Without light but with warmth. How much gas is in the tank and how can Ukraine survive the heating season?

Ukraine has entered the heating season with 14 billion cubic meters of gas reserves in underground storage facilities. In what case will the reserves be sufficient for the heating season, and what threats are posed by the possible bombardment of the country’s gas infrastructure by the RF Armed Forces?

The relentless Russian bombardment of Ukrainian power grids and other energy infrastructure facilities is affecting electricity supply to consumers in all regions of Ukraine. But the situation with gas is still stable. But not everywhere, because heavy shelling in front areas still leads to interruptions in gas supply to consumers. For example, on the night of November 30, Russians attacked communities in the Zaporozhye region and critical infrastructure was damaged as a result of the bombardment.

“The enemy shell damaged a gas distribution point and caused a fire. It was soon eliminated, but three streets in the village remained without a gas supply,” said Oleksandr Starukh, head of the Zaporizhzhya OVA. According to him, soon the employees of the Zaporizhgaz company laid a new section of the underground gas pipeline and resumed the supply of gas to consumers.

If bombardment. Can gas objects be the target of enemy attacks?

The rocket attacks of the RF Armed Forces since October 10 have concentrated on the country’s energy facilities. But we are talking about electricity, not gas. “The Russians attacked the eastern regions, where we produce a large amount of gas, but we do not have a big problem with the gas supply. They seem to be focused on energy infrastructure. They don’t have enough (bullets, – Focus) will hit both gas and electricity infrastructure. I think the situation with gas will be better than electricity“, – noted in the comment Focus Vladimir Omelchenko, director of energy programs at the Razumkov Center. The expert does not rule out that targeted missile attacks against Ukraine’s gas infrastructure are possible.

The Russians can launch missiles at gas distribution stations, but the attacker has so far focused on Ukraine’s electricity grids.

According to Alexander Kharchenko, director of the Energy Research Center, the absence of mass attacks by the Russians on gas distribution stations can be partially explained by the fact that: The Ukrainian gas transport system was built in Soviet times, taking into account possible hostilities, and seriously damaging it is not a simple task.. “It is possible. But this is much more difficult than damaging power plants. And the gas transmission system can be restored quite quickly: the Ukrainian system is built in such a way that any section can be quickly isolated and then quickly replaced by a pipe section, ” says Alexander Kharchenko . And adds: So far, there are no clear prerequisites indicating the deliberate attempts of the enemy to damage the Ukrainian GTS.

“So far everything is fine with gas. I’d even be happy if they switch to gas because they’re harder to damage there and they certainly don’t have enough missiles, and we see this in bomber dynamics,” expert notes. Yury Korolchuk, an expert at the Institute of Energy Strategies, of repairing gas transmission facilities with electricity disagrees with him, believing that it is much more difficult and longer than his power plants. However, according to Korolchuk, the fact that the Russians have not yet started bombing the gas infrastructure, Gazprom’s transition to Europe may be due to gas supply contracts passing through the Ukrainian GTS.

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Buy gas. What happens to natural gas production during war?

Although there were no large-scale attacks on gas networks, attacks on important gas installations continued in the fall of 2022. We are talking about the hit of a Russian missile on November 17 at one of the gas production facilities of the Ukrgazvydobuvannya company, which is part of the Naftogaz group. However, the damage there did not have a serious effect on the gas pumping rate. “TWe experienced a compressor station, but no critical damage occurred. More damage was done to our gas production at the front or where the occupation took place., there is more damage there. This time, the operational capacity of the system was quickly restored.”

In general, all is not so bad with gas production. Despite hostilities, Ukrgazvydobuvannya’s plants continue to operate in the east of the country – in October, the company drilled a new well in the Kharkiv region with a debt of more than 140,000 cubic meters. m gas per day. After the occupation of the territory of the Kharkiv region by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the company quickly restored production, which was not possible during the occupation. “Ukrgazvydobuvannya employees have restarted the operation of various infrastructure facilities in the occupied territory of Ukraine and are preparing to start others. As a result, there will be additional production of about 500,000 cubic meters of natural gas per day,” the company said in a statement. a phrase.

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The company reported that they have regained control of the drilling rigs that have been in the occupied territory for about seven months, and most have resumed drilling wells in eastern Ukraine after repairs. Although this was very difficult, the drilling rigs were damaged both by shelling and by looting by the Russian army.

Accumulate stocks. How much gas is in the underground tank and why is it important?

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said that Ukraine has entered the winter season with 14 billion cubic meters of natural gas reserves in underground storage. Experts interviewed focus, consider that these volumes are sufficient for a stable heating season. “While there is no abnormally cold weather, the reserves are not bad for a normal winter. Good with gas, normal with coal, but bad with electricity due to attacks on infrastructure.“, – Alexander Kharchenko stressed. According to Vladimir Omelchenko, it is extremely important to provide consumers with energy sources, and most importantly, that gas is at Ukrainian storage facilities. “There is enough gas in the storage facilities – demand in Ukraine has decreased by 40% due to the decrease in production and the departure of the population. enough gas“, – Vladimir Omelchenko sure.

However, some risks still remain. According to Yuriy Korolchuk, the threats could be associated with a potential stop in the transit of Russian gas through the Ukrainian gas transport system. “If the transit stops, we will pump gas from the storage facilities, but the pressure will drop and not all consumers will have gas, gas supply may be interrupted at certain periods and in certain areas, high risks for the southern and eastern parts of the country“, – says Yuri Korolchuk.

But so far, Gazprom, which has been busy responding to the collective court cases of German companies over the volume of contracted gas not received from the Russian monopoly, has so far not taken explicit steps to end the transit. Russian gas via Ukraine. At this stage, this means Ukraine has a good chance of surviving the winter with gas and without the stress caused by blue fuel shortages.

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If there is a need to increase reserves, if severe frosts occur in Ukraine in winter, Naftogaz will go to the European market to purchase the necessary volumes. Funding for such contracts will come from partner countries. In November, Norway signed an agreement on the transfer of 195 million dollars to Ukraine for the purchase of gas, and in early December, Oleksiy Chernyshov, chairman of the board of directors of NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy, discussed the purchase of additional gas with CEO Anders Opedal. From Equinor, Norway’s largest oil and gas company.

Source: Focus

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