News / Europe

Ukraine OKs Preliminary Emergency Energy Plans

FILE - This Wednesday May 21, 2014 file photo shows a gas pressure gauge in Bil 'che-Volicko-Ugerske underground gas storage facilities in Strij, outside Lviv, Ukraine. Russia on Monday, June 16, 2014
FILE - This Wednesday May 21, 2014 file photo shows a gas pressure gauge in Bil 'che-Volicko-Ugerske underground gas storage facilities in Strij, outside Lviv, Ukraine. Russia on Monday, June 16, 2014
Reuters

Ukraine's parliament gave preliminary approval on Friday to a draft law that would allow the Kyiv government to exert tighter control over the energy sector in the face of dwindling natural gas supplies after Russia cut off exports last month.

The parliament also approved, in a first reading, a bill that would allow consortiums with European or U.S. companies to operate Ukraine's aging gas distribution system and storage facilities.

"Russia is trying to tighten as many screws as possible on us," Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk told parliament, urging it to give his government the right to declare a "state of emergency" in the energy sector.

"A gas war has been rolled out against us. The country is on the brink (of energy collapse)."

Russia, Ukraine's main supplier of gas as well as natural gas for Europe via Ukraine, cut off supplies to the ex-Soviet republic on June 16 in a dispute over unpaid bills.

It has also hinted it will take retaliatory trade measures against Ukraine over its signature last month of a free trade deal with the European Union.

The head of Ukraine's state energy company Naftogaz said that the legislation proposed by the government could help Ukraine get through the winter without Russian gas by reducing consumption by around 20 percent.

"We have to cut our gas consumption by approximately 6 billion cubic meters for the season, that is 20 percent. Then we can get through the winter," Naftogaz head Andriy Kobolev told a news conference.

"If we do what we plan, then we'll get through the winter with gas from Europe," he said.

He said Naftogaz would advise the government to sell gas domestically at a fixed price and force Ukrainian energy companies producing gas from domestic wells to send half their supplies into Ukraine's storage facilities.

After the winter, he said, the companies would have access to the gas and be able to sell it to customers of their choosing.

Parliament initially rejected the government's energy proposals, but resumed discussion and took a vote on the two draft laws on Friday after speaker Oleksander Turchynov warned that without them many homes could be left without heating in winter. "There is a risk for millions of our citizens. This is a question of survival," he warned.

Yatseniuk, urging cooperation with European or U.S. companies in operating the Soviet-era gas pipeline system, said this would bring structural modernization essential for Ukraine given Russian plans to build a gas pipeline system that would bypass Ukraine.

"Adoption of this law opens the way to Ukraine to become an energy player," Yatseniuk said.

Some deputies on Thursday had voiced fears over possible retaliation from Russia if it were not given the same access to Ukraine's gas infrastructure as would be offered U.S. and European firms.

Russia had previously offered to buy into Ukraine's gas distribution system in return for cheaper gas.

The draft laws on possible "state of emergency" powers would give the government the right to dictate to gas companies to whom they should supply gas and for how much, irrespective of supply obligations under existing contracts.

The proposed legislation appeared to apply to private gas companies as well as the state gas and oil company Naftogaz, Ukraine's biggest gas importer.

The draft laws are expected to go to parliament for a second reading at the end of July or in August.

You May Like

Is Air Travel Safe?

Aviation expert says despite tragic losses of Malaysian Airlines flights 370 and 17, industry experienced lowest fatality rate in recorded history last year More

Multimedia 100 Days Later, Nigerian Girls Still Held

Activists holding rallies in Nigeria and several other countries to mark 100th day of captivity for more than 200 schoolgirls being held by Boko Haram More

Chocolate Too Bitter? Swap Sugar for Mushrooms

US food technology company develops fermentation process using mushrooms to reduce bitterness in cocoa beans, believes it will cut sugar content in candy More

Comment Sorting
Comment on this forum (2)
Comments
     
by: Joseph Effiong from: calabar - nigeria
July 06, 2014 11:50 AM
This will help freed Ukraine from russia's-gas-slavery .


by: Anonymous
July 04, 2014 11:07 AM
Wouldn't it be easier just to pay your bills?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israeli
X
Carolyn Presutti
July 23, 2014 1:21 AM
The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video US Carriers Suspend Travel to Israel

The United States is prohibiting American carriers from flying to Israel's airport in Tel Aviv for 24 hours, because of rising violence between Israel and Hamas militants. The action was announced on Tuesday, after a rocket fired by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip landed near the airport. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti tells us, international officials soon may have to determine which combat zones are too dangerous for commercial flights.
Video

Video NASA Focuses on Earth-Like Planets

For decades, looking for life elsewhere in the universe meant listening for signals that could be from distant civilizations. But recent breakthroughs in space technology refocused some of that effort toward finding planets that may harbor life, even in its primitive form. VOA’s George Putic reports on a recent panel discussion at NASA’s headquarters, in Washington.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.

AppleAndroid