October 25, 2016

Who Provided and Continues to Provide False Information about Filling the Ukrainian UGS?

Bohdan Sokolovskyi

Recently it has been reported that at the end of the season of pumping (circa October 2016) in our underground gas storages (UGS) there are at least 14.7 billion cubic meters of gas (48 % of their volumes). The gas from the Ukrainian UGS, along with domestic consumption, ensures the transit of the Russian natural gas to the EU.

September 10, 2016, Deputy Chief of the NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine announced the NJSC's intention to pump into underground storage facilities “more than 16 billion cubic meters of gas”. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine in early September 2016 decided to pump 17 billion cubic meters of gas into the UGS. Gazprom and the European Commission kept talking about 19 (for the transit guarantee). The figure 17 to 19 was mentioned last year by the previous Prime Minister of Ukraine.

In a word, using the vocabulary of the north-eastern neighbor, the calculations of the critical filling of Ukrainian UGS are “a mess”. Very important persons from official agencies report on the results of calculations that don't match even 25 %. Such an error in the calculation is not only unacceptable, but also raises more questions than it answers. Interestingly, the filling with 14.7 billion cubic meters of gas is no longer upsets nobody in those institutions: in the Russian Federation, in the EC, in the Ministry of Energy of Ukraine or in the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers. Even if they have recently voiced totally different figures.

No doubt, in such a situation only practice (the heating season) will give the most truthful answer.

Gas Balances in Ukrainian Underground Storages

Gas Balances in Ukrainian Underground Storages

 In this context, one can't help mentioning the fact that on the eve of the winter 2007/2008, 2008/2009, 2009/2010 the industry's experts informed the then Secretariat of the President of Ukraine that in the Ukrainian UGS there should be at least 17 billion cubic meters of gas. Lower volumes may endanger the transit of Russian gas to the EU countries and domestic needs in Ukraine. Since then neither transit technologies nor technical policy of the Naftogaz of Ukraine have changed. Virtually unchanged are the levels of qualification of Ukrainian gas institutions and experts. The decline in the filling of UGS in a certain way could be explained by the reduction of overall consumption of Russian gas, here in Ukraine and in the EU. But the official information about those 17 billion cubic meters of gas in UGS was meant only to ensure proper transit and not consumption. Therefore, to ensure both, domestic consumption and transit, in those years by the end of the period of pumping the gas into UGS, the latter were filled with more than 17 billion cubic meters of gas (about 30 billion cubic meters in 2007, 28 billion — in 2008, 26 billion — in 2009).

That is, if we compare the current 14.7 billion with the actual filling of underground gas storage in the above-mentioned years (in order to ensure the proper transit and domestic consumption, about which at that time the President of Ukraine was informed), there are meant a couple of extra billion dollars (0.5-1.0 — for transit alone).

“Naftogaz of Ukraine” as well as the budget of our country has never had enough money. However, during this period the state of Ukraine, guided by the said official information about the optimal filling of gas storage facilities, went to such costs — purchased imported gas and pumped it into underground storage facilities to fulfill the above-mentioned commitments. At this, our State did experience additional cost loading, which was significantly weakening it.

Now, among many others, the following questions arise: when, and who provided the leadership of Ukraine with false information on minimum volumes of filling UGS? And providing, was misleading our society and our foreign partners? When was this information correct — now or then? Or is there (and, perhaps, there was) negligence or deliberate humiliation and weakening of the Ukrainian State and the misinformation of our Head of State?

Honest answers to these questions, among other things, are important to defend the image of our State's leadership. Because it is our tradition and now, it is perceived so by the world, that responsibility for all our “successes and failures” lies on the shoulders of our Head of State. Including the responsibility for whether 14.7 billion cubic meters of gas in underground storage facilities is enough for this season, and whether it was enough for the period from 2005 to 2009 and so on.

 

www.reliablecounter.com