Ukraine has offered to rent its underground natural gas storage facilities to the EU for next winter, Euroactiv reported on Wednesday, citing the CEO of Ukrainian state energy company Naftogaz, Aleksey Chernyshov.
The official claimed that Ukraine could make 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of storage available to the EU “right now.”
The announcement was made during a trip by the head of Naftogaz to Brussels last week, when a Ukrainian delegation visited the European Commission and met with gas industry representatives. According to Chernyshov, Ukraine has Europe’s largest gas storage capacities with a total volume of 31 bcm, which is well above the country’s domestic needs.
“I can guarantee that I can rent this empty space to European countries that can store gas in Ukraine. And when they need it, they can get it back to Europe,” the official said. He added that this “would make Ukraine an energy backup for the EU.”
According to Euroactiv, Ukrainian and EU officials drew conclusions from the first heating season without Russian gas supplies and discussed preparations for next winter.
Prior to the conflict in Ukraine, Russia supplied nearly 40% of the gas consumed by EU countries, mostly through pipeline networks. While the bloc has not banned Russian pipeline gas imports, their flows dwindled significantly after Ukraine-related sanctions were imposed last year.
Deliveries were also affected by the sabotage of the Nord Stream pipeline, one of the main routes for Russian gas to Europe. Russian gas supplies currently cover about 10% of the bloc’s entire consumption, according to Brussels.
This article was originally published by RT.