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EU says it is interested in protecting Ukrainian gas storage facilities from Russian attacks: why it is important

Darina GertsevaNews
The EU can protect Ukrainian gas
The EU can protect Ukrainian gas. Source: Freepik

The European Union (EU) has shown interest in protecting Ukraine's gas storage facilities from possible Russian attacks. This interest is justified not only by the strategic importance of the gas infrastructure but also for the sake of maintaining favorable gas prices for Europe.

This was stated by Oleksii Chernyshov, Chairman of the Board of Naftogaz, in an interview with The Financial Times. "The EU is interested in protecting storage, transportation and production facilities, given that Ukraine's gas infrastructure is well integrated into the European energy system," Chernyshov said.

Naftogaz reported that gas storage facilities in western Ukraine have been attacked several times in recent months, but only surface facilities have been affected. At the same time, underground storage facilities, which can be located at a depth of up to 3 kilometers, remained unharmed.

Chernyshov noted that while U.S. assistance will be useful for Ukraine's defense, the ongoing protection of infrastructure requires significant resources in the form of air defense systems. "We may find ourselves in a situation where we will still need more air defense equipment even after receiving assistance from the United States, and the EU countries, of course, should play a crucial role in providing it," he said.

Ukraine is a transit route for Russian gas to Europe, and its gas storage facilities provide European traders with gas storage. This function became particularly important before last winter when gas storage facilities in the EU were filled to capacity.

Chernyshov also noted that record volumes of gas in European storage facilities will help avoid a shortage next winter, but there are risks of losing Russian gas transit through Ukraine. He is confident that the loss of this gas will have little impact on Europe, and that the EU's demand for gas will not change the market significantly even if supplies through Ukraine are reduced.

Naftogaz's contract with Gazprom expires at the end of this year. Chernyshov said that Naftogaz will not extend it.

This means that in 2025, Russian gas will not be supplied through Ukraine, forcing countries such as Austria and Slovakia to look for alternative sources of supply. "The reason why Naftogaz has extended this transit agreement even in the face of war with Russia is to meet the EU's gas needs and remain a reliable partner for its allies," Chernyshov said.

As reported earlier, despite international sanctions, Russia has almost doubled its revenues from oil and gas sales year-on-year. Due to the rise in international hydrocarbon prices, the occupiers' profits increased to $14 billion.

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