Russia ruins Ukraine's dream of becoming European gas hub

Russia destroys Europe's largest underground gas storage facility in Ukraine

Ukraine dreamed of becoming "the key to the security of Europe's gas supply,” the gas hub of Europe. Moscow found this unnecessary.

Ukraine wants to become EU's gas hub

According to Deputy Minister of Energy of Ukraine Svetlana Grinchuk, imports usually account for up to 10 billion cubic meters of the total volume of Ukrainian storage facilities of 31 billion cubic meters. Ukraine stores gas from Poland, Norway, Hungary, and other countries, which they receive even from the Caspian region, as well as liquefied natural gas (LNG), which comes to Europe from the United States.

"The EU aims to phase out the use of Russian gas and reduce the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix. Ukraine can help achieve these goals," Grinchuk told Euractiv.

The Kremlin decided that Europe should rather think about revisiting Nord Streams or slide into recession and inflation further.

On the night of April 10-11, eight MiG-31s struck the Bilche-Volitsko-Uhersky underground gas storage facility (UGS) near the city of Stryi in the Lviv region. This is the largest (17 billion cubic meters) underground gas storage facility in Ukraine and the second largest in Europe. Russia struck the target for the third time in a month.

Hypersonic Kinzhal missiles are designed to destroy underground fortifications, but it is unlikely that the purpose of the attack was to blow up huge gas reserves. It is enough to destroy the service infrastructure such as pumping stations.

Why does Russia target underground gas storage facilities in Ukraine?

The destruction of the Bilche-Volitsko-Uhersky UGS facility has other very unpleasant consequences for both sides of the alliance:

  • Ukraine loses its virtual reverse, through which it purchases Russian gas from the EU at exorbitant prices;
  • this entails problems for maintaining the stability of the Ukrainian energy sector, which is already in a dilapidated state;
  • Kyiv may revisit its practice of unauthorised gas withdrawals.

The head of Naftogaz, Alexey Chernyshov, said that the companies that store gas in Ukraine do not renounce cooperation. Yet, these are private companies and they will not tolerate losses, even if it is now possible to book storage for one month, while maintaining the same cost.

No compensatory electricity supplies to come

In addition to April 11 attacks on the gas transportation system (one shall assume that the EU was also affected), the Russian missiles hit the electrical substation in Chervonogradskoe in the Lviv region. The station was built in the 1980s to supply electricity to the CMEA countries, and now to the EU (CMEA or COMECON was a former organisation of Soviet-bloc countries formed in 1949 to promote the economic interdependence of its member states. The members were Bulgaria, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, German Democratic Republic (GDR), Hungary, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, USSR, and Vietnam. COMECON was replaced in 1991 by an organisation designed to help those economies integrate with the rest of Europe — ed.).

Russia's April 11 attack cut off the export and import of electricity, which was practiced to obtain a stable energy supply system during peak hours in Europe and replace the energy supply lost as a result of Russian strikes on Ukraine.

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Author`s name Lyuba Lulko
Editor Dmitry Sudakov