KIEV: Ukraine almost halved its natural gas imports in the first two months of 2016 to 2.1 billion cubic metres (bcm) and all of it came from the European Union, pipeline operator Ukrtransgaz said on Wednesday.
Ukraine imported 4.1 bcm of gas in January-February last year, including 2.3 bcm from Russia. Ukraine has said it is likely to cut its natural gas imports to between 11 billion and 13 billion cubic metres (bcm) this year from 16.5 billion in 2015 and source it all from the European Union, bypassing Russia. Ukraine previously imported gas only from Russia, but price disputes and diplomatic tensions have prompted it to turn to the EU instead.
Last year, its imports from the EU jumped to 10.3 bcm from about 5 bcm, mostly via Slovakia, while imports from Russia fell to 6.1 bcm from about 14.5 bcm. Russian gas exporter Gazprom and Naftogaz, Ukraine’s state oil and gas company, have taken their dispute to an international arbitration court in Stockholm with Gazprom’s total claims against Ukraine currently standing at $29.2 billion.