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

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
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.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid