Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Energy security remains a key issues for Ukraine following Crimea crisis

The Ukrainian revolution, the annexation of Crimea with its fuel resources and undeclared war between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian army forces in the eastern part of the country have revealed a set of strategic problems for the Ukrainian economy. Energy safety and dependence on Russian gas remain the key issues for Ukraine’s politics and economics.

The new government, elected after ex-President Viktor Yanukovych was ousted and fled to Russia, is clearly leaning toward Europe. In response to Ukraine’s new policy, Russia, after the annexation of Crimea, canceled its special tariff for gas exports, which had been set partially in exchange for the presence of the Russian fleet in the Crimean city of Sevastopol. Now Ukraine is among the European countries paying the highest price for Russian gas.

Gas Supply Problems

Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe. Because of its strategic location between Russia and Europe, it’s a key transit country for energy resources, Russian natural gas in particular. According to the International Energy Agency, in 2011 Ukraine was dependent on imported energy products by at least 40 percent. This number has remained more or less the same for the past couple of decades. The country has to import around 30 billion cubic meters (about 1,000 billion cubic feet) of natural gas yearly to keep its heavy industries up and running. At the same time, Ukraine transports up to 50 percent of the Russian gas imported by the European Union.

The problem of Europe’s energy dependence on Russian supplies is not new. During the 2006 and 2009 gas disputes, Russia briefly cut off its gas supplies to Ukraine, which largely affected Eastern European countries dependent on the importation of the fuel. And the Russian government has been accused numerous times of using the country’s energy resources as a political tool.

Complete story at - Energy security remains a key issues for Ukraine following Crimea crisis

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