Ukraine can reach self-sufficiency with gas already in 2020 – ISER experts

On July 11, an expert Smart Talk discussion “Energy Security of Ukraine” took place at the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center. During the event, we talked about how to provide the country with its own energy resources, without which energy security is impossible and how to strengthen it. Also, “The Energy Security Strengthening Plan for Ukraine to 2020”, which was developed by ISER experts, was presented.

Smart Talk is a joint project of the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) and the Ukrainian Crisis Media Center. It is a format of expert discussions devoted to the communication of the main aspects of the most important reforms for Ukraine.

In Smart Talk participated:

  • Dmytro Chumak, Expert of ISER on Energy;
  • Oksana Korotkevych, Expert of ISER on Energy;
  • Roman Opimakh, Executive Director of the Association of Gas Producers of Ukraine;\
  • Olexandr Kharchenko, Director of the Center for Energy Research.

The ISER experts' survey analyses the current state of the Ukrainian energy sector. Moreover, it determines a plan of measures that will solve the acutest problems of the industry and accelerate the achievement of the goals defined in various state target programs for the development of domestic energy. According to the co-authors of the document, recommendations presented in it can provide a significant contribution to the strengthening of Ukraine's energy security in the short term. The time horizon specified in the document – until 2020 – does not mean that after this period, most of the problems described and certain steps aimed at solving them will cease to be relevant.

According to experts, the Ukrainian energy sector has accumulated a critical mass of problems that require an immediate response.

“We have obsolete electricity networks, thermal power plants, and nuclear power plants, most of which were built during the Soviet Union. Today, the deterioration of our electricity networks is about 60 %. About fourteen Ukrainian thermal power plants are in a state of decommissioning or are approaching this. In addition, at the beginning of the twenties, two Zaporizhzhya blocs and two blocks of the South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant will exhaust their over projected period, and they would have to be decommissioned. Already today we need to understand how to replace the withdrawn capacities,” – explains expert of ISER on energy Dmytro Chumak.

Experts are convinced that Ukraine can achieve self-sufficiency in gas by 2020 if it increases gas production and introduces energy efficiency measures.

“We consume three times more energy resources than any European country with a similar climate. Therefore, the priority for the government and the whole of our state should be the introduction of a culture of economical consumption of energy resources, enhancing energy efficiency and increasing our own energy production,” – said Oksana Korotkevych, expert of ISER on energy.

Executive Director of the Association of Gas Producers of UkraineRoman Opimakhnotes that in general, Ukraine is capable of producing 27 billion cubic meters of gas by 2020 and at the expense of energy-efficient measures this amount can be sufficient. Annually Ukraine extracts only 2% of the gas from the available reserves in its territory, while other countries extract 6%.

“Ukraine ranked third in terms of proven reserves of natural gas in Europe; we have a powerful GTS, which allows delivering the extracted gas to the end user. We have significant potential for increasing the intensity of resource extraction, but we do not use it at full capacity.”

At the same time, Director of the Center for Energy Research Olexandr Kharchenkounderlines the need to intensify gas production, as he assumes that in a few decades the world will abandon the use of hydrocarbons and will completely switch to alternative energy.

“According to the most forecasts, hydrocarbons will not be needed in 50 years. Ukraine should have time to use the resource that it has today, at least partially. In 50 years, we physically will not be able to use 35-40% of the resources. Therefore, it is necessary to hurry up and increase their production.”

Expert of ISER on energy Dmytro Chumak notes that it is necessary to create a single coordinating centre to solve the critical mass of problems accumulated in the energy sector.

“Coordination of efforts is the biggest problem in Ukraine in the energy security sector today. The EU and the US have already taken a step forward in this matter. They appoint special commissioners, create coordinating centres, that is, effective platforms where the issue of energy security is discussed at the highest level and leads to real action. Unfortunately, Ukraine does not have it yet. Such a centre should be created, as well as the corresponding legislative platform. Among other things, this is also mentioned in the plan we have presented.”

According to the results of the study, ISER experts also emphasise the need to preserve Ukraine's status as the largest transit country for gas to Europe. Among the urgent issues is also the formation of a clear policy on the further development of nuclear energy, ensuring transparency of functioning and pricing in the country's energy sector and increasing the country's level of self-sufficiency in energy resources.

Yesterday, on July 10, the Energy Security Strengthening Plan for Ukraine was presented at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and was approved by representatives of the government, expert environment and civil society. You can see its content here -

The Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER) is a non-governmental analytical centre that unites leading specialists in various fields who have experience in analysing public policy and developing effective solutions. The main activity of the Institute is to analyse and improve the state policy in all spheres of social and economic development. More information about the Institute is by the link -