Russia’s Gazprom has stated that in order for transit stability to be maintained, Ukraine should have 22-24bn cubic metres of gas stored underground instead of 14 billion. During winter, a greater proportion of Russian gas is used directly in Ukraine, meaning the reduced stream heading into Europe needs to be supplemented from reserves. Back in the summer, then EC Energy commissioner Günther Oettinger issued warnings in this very regard. He added that a longer, deeper winter could even lead
to gas supply shortfalls in Germany.
Nonetheless, gas supply experts are refuting fears of shortages resulting from low Ukrainian reserves. “As of the start of December, Ukraine held the same natural gas reserves as in October. And most EU countries’ reserves were over summer filled to more than 90 percent capacity,” said Jan Ruml, CEO of the Czech Gas Association (ČPS).
The risk of a disruption in gas supplies transiting Ukraine has also been reduced by an agreement signed by Russia and Ukraine on Russian gas supplies to be used by the Ukrainians over winter.