Ukraine says its gas storage is about halfway to government target

KYIV, July 6 (Reuters) – Ukraine has 11 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas in underground storage against a government target of 19 bcm, the head of its gas transmission system operator said on Wednesday.

“This winter will probably be the most difficult in our history,” said Sergiy Makogon, managing director of the transmission system operator, during a press briefing. “At the moment, in underground storage sites, there are about 11 billion m3 out of the 19 (bcm) desired by the cabinet.”

Makogon said that before the Russian invasion, Ukraine used about 30 billion m3 per year of gas, but he expected consumption to drop to around 21-22 billion m3 per year.

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Ukraine’s economy is expected to contract sharply as a result of the war, with the central bank predicting in April a drop in gross domestic product of at least a third in 2022.

Makogon said Ukraine needs to prepare for a future scenario where Europe stops buying gas from Russia.

“Our (transmission) system will no longer be needed. We anticipate there will be no transit, we will look for other opportunities to use the system,” he said.

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Reporting by Pavel Polityuk, writing by Alexander Winning, editing by Timothy Heritage

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