July 21, 2019 / 3:05 PM / 3 months ago

Ukraine winter season gas reserves rise to 15 bcm

KIEV, July 21 (Reuters) - Ukraine, which wants to stockpile at least 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas for the 2019/20 heating season, had reserves of more than 15 bcm by July 21, the head of state-run energy company Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolev, said on Sunday.

Ukraine had stored 12.3 bcm of gas by the same time last year.

Kobolev has said that Ukraine needs to increase its gas reserves by 18% this year to cover its own winter needs and to guarantee transit to European consumers.

The country consumed 32.3 bcm of gas in 2018, 10.6 bcm of which was imported. For the heating season from mid-October to April it stored 16.9 bcm of gas.

Ukraine used to meet its gas needs with imports from Russia but has not bought Russian gas directly since November 2015 after Kiev’s relations with Moscow soured over Russia’s annexation of Crimea the previous year.

Kiev now imports from Europe. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk Editing by David Goodman)

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