Ukraine sees energy self-sufficiency by 2020

Volodymyr Groysman said the dollar would now cost 18.5 Ukrainian hryvnias instead of the current 26.5 if Kiev did not need to pay hard cash for its fuel supplies.

Ukraine sees energy self-sufficiency by 2020

World Bulletin / News Desk

Ukraine's prime minister said Thursday the local currency would be worth nearly a third more if it stopped relying on Russian natural gas and become energy-sufficient.

Ukraine had relied for decades on petro-giant Russia -- an eastern foe whom Groysman accused of "theft" and running "corruption schemes".

Kiev has frozen its relations with Moscow because of Russia's support for insurgents fighting the government in eastern Ukraine and currently buys its gas from central European states.

But Groysman told local media that he "recently saw analysis" showing that Ukraine could rely on its own natural gas supplies by 2020.

"If we add our own Ukrainian gas and stopped buying it using hard currency, the dollar would not have the problems it is currently having today," Groysman said.

A dollar could buy around eight hryvnias before a pro-EU revolution started that toppled the Russian-backed president in February 2014.

The Kremlin's subsequent annexation of Ukraine's strategic Crimea peninsula and the outbreak of a pro-Russian insurgency in April 2014 that has claimed nearly 10,000 lives saw the country's currency nosedive and inflation soar.

Ukraine's gross domestic product imploded by around 17 percent in 2014-15.

Inflation hit nearly 50 percent in 2015 and Ukrainians continue to voice their displeasure at the government for its seeming failure to steady the ship.

Ukraine's 2017 budget sees growth reaching three percent and inflation falling to an annual rate of a relatively modest 8.1 percent.

But gas has been a hex on Kiev -- especially in periods when it had to rely on Moscow's state gas giant Gazprom.

Repeated pricing disputes saw the Kremlin's natural gas giant cut off blue fuel supplies to Ukraine twice since 2006. Kiev itself stopped buying Russian gas 13 months ago.

Ukraine has an estimated natural gas supply of 900 billion cubic metres that require Western investments to reach in full.

But fighting in the east has scared off some world energy giants and much now depends on when the war will end.

A government paper approved in December set Ukraine the target of producing 27 billion cubic metres of gas in 2020.

The state gas transport company said Ukraine produced 20.2 billion cubic metres and imported another 11.1 billion cubic metres last year.

The government has also set itself the goal of becoming more energy efficient.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 05 Ocak 2017, 16:42