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State Of Emergency In Ukraine As Russia Cuts Off Coal

First it was a cutoff of Russian natural gas, now Ukraine faces Moscow’s suspension of coal deliveries as winter approaches. As a result, Kiev has been forced to declare a state of emergency in its electricity market as it faces the onset of a dark, frigid winter.

Historically, Ukraine has been self-sufficient in coal, but fighting between government forces and pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions has closed more than half the coal mines there and shut down rail lines needed to ship coal to power plants, according to Europe’s coal association, Eurocoal.

Because of the fighting, Ukraine had been relying on coal from Russia, but on Nov. 24 its largest energy company, DTEK, said Moscow had suspended those imports three days earlier. Ukraine has imported about 1.3 million tons of Russian coal since August.

Related: Ukraine-Russia Gas Deal Still Possible Despite Setback

DTEK said in a statement that the suspension came without warning and that Ukraine had made advance payments to its Russian suppliers under the terms of their contract. “We hope the situation will be clarified soon and supplies will be resumed in regular regime,” the statement added.

Until then, Ukraine will need to import between 1 million and 2 million metric tons of coal to compensate for the loss before the spring thaw in 2015. Meanwhile, the country’s hydro and nuclear power plants also are working hard to satisfy its energy needs, but Ukraine’s aging power infrastructure is old and probably not up to the task.

The situation is ironic because Ukraine has been one of Europe’s leading coal producers. In 2013 it produced 60 million metric tons of coal, but the fighting, which Western leaders say is fomented by the Russian government, has shut down 66 coal mines in eastern Ukraine, leaving only 60 more still in service. Until the fighting broke out, Ukraine used coal to generate about 40 percent of its electricity.

In an interview with the television channel 112 Ukraine, Dmitry Marunich, a co-chairman of the Ukrainian Energy Strategies Fund, said Russia’s suspension of coal deliveries comes at the worst possible time because Kiev has “little chance to find other sources to substitute for it.”

Related: Ukraine Facing Harsh Winter Due To Coal Shortages

Marunich said that Ukraine is already too busy contending with other problems involving Russia to devote the time and money to arranging imports from other countries. One such contract, he said, was signed with South Africa to help wean Ukraine from Russian coal, but South Africa cut off shipments earlier in November, citing political instability in Ukraine.

As a result, Marunich warned of power shortages and resulting rolling blackouts during the coming winter.

Making matters worse is the status of the gas Ukraine needs to import from Russia. Moscow shut off that supply in June because of a dispute over unpaid bills and pricing. In October, with the help of the European Union, Kiev and Moscow reached a tentative deal to restore gas shipments, but they haven’t resumed because Russia demanded that Ukraine pay for the gas in advance and Ukraine has yet to do so.

Ukraine has some gas in storage, but the amount it now holds would meet the country’s needs for only about three-and-a-half months.

By Andy Tully of Oilprice.com

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  • Rob on December 02 2014 said:
    Alex wrote: "If West does not support military coup in Kiev in February"

    You clearly have dillusions - you propagate the common Russian propaganda that it is the West responsible for Majdan. Of course, it is necessary for Russians to say that because it is so convenient but it was Ukrainian revolutions by Ukrainians and in Ukraine. You also forget other things:
    1. Janukovich fled Ukraine *before* anyone removed him from power.
    2. Janukovich invited foreign power, Russia, to intervene in Ukraine without agreement of Ukrainian parliament - that makes him a traitor.
    3. Crimea would still be Ukrainian if Russia didn't send "green people", who months later got medals from Putin, to capture it.
    4. There would be no civil war if Russia didn't supply rebels with weapons and ammunition - you really want the world to believe that rebels captured all those tanks? Probably more than what Ukrainian army has. And didn't scare all Russians about "facist regime" - excuses excuses excuses but who ended up with Crimea? Russia. Who will end up with Donetsk? Russia. You can blame the whole world but who is expanding is clear to all and the whole world knows it.

    We are now waiting for Russian "peacekeepers", just like Russia described Russian soldiers in Georgia, to enter and help with "humanitarian" effort.
  • Rob on December 02 2014 said:
    Alex wrote: "Washington and Brussels who supported the Kosovo precedent. It was they invention! What does it happen to Crimea?! There was referendum in Crimea, there was not referendum in Kosovo! "

    Are you forgetting some small details:
    1. Did Brussels/Washington annex Kosovo?
    2. Who were "green people" in Crimea with guns and no military insignia? UFO ?
    3. There was a referendum in Kosovo in 1991.

    And finally but most importantly:
    Did you forget the 1994 Budapest agreement where Ukraine gave up its nuclear weapons and in exchange US, UK and *Russia* gave guarantees about Ukraine's borders and security? What are Russia's guarantees worth? Less tan toilet paper because that you can use in some useful way .... You think Russia can sign "guarantees" and then treat others like idiots?
  • Richard Bird on December 02 2014 said:
    The west isn't interested in Ukraine's welfare. To them it is simply a territory bordering Russia, which is their real focus of interest. It's like Poland before WW2. Was the west really concerned about the people of Poland, or were they looking for a reason to declare war against Germany? In hindsight that question is easily answered. After the war they allowed Poland to be swallowed up in the soviet union where they spent 60 years under the heal of bolchevic oppression. So much for western concern. This is about zionist power and money, not about benevolent humanitarianism.
  • Jeff on December 01 2014 said:
    I'm US guy teaching in Kiev. When Yanokovich revoked his promise to join the EU, people of Ukraine protested in the Maiden. There was a million there every day. I was there. They were not paid by anyone, Many families there, they all spoke of corruption. It did attract extemeists and people got shot. Yanokovich fled to Russia taking all Ukraine's money. Putin, faced with having his Naval base in NATO country, took control of Krimea and the conflict in the Donbas will prevent Ukraine from joining NATO. Donbass people are ethnic Russians and the strong nationalists tried to pass a law to make them learn, teach, use Ukranian but the normally hawkish PM Yatsenyuk struck it down (he speaks Russian to his wife) but it was too late, Due to historical events (Holodomir) the Slavic brothers (the ethnic Russians in Donbass or most anywhere) are discriminated against, similar to the black-white race issues here in the US. That is the nature of the conflict.
    Ukraine government is so corrupt the west (IMF) does not want to bail it. Years ago a bailout ended up in the leaders pockets. So far they are not passing laws and taking steps to change this. Most of the drama comes from extremists on both sides. Most of The people are normal, I have friends on both sides.
    The US doesn't want to rule Russia. We wouldn't want a Russian naval base in Cape Canaveral either. The problem is the broken global agreement that borders are not redrawn, makes those that do it untrustworthy. The US, Russia and Ukraine agreed to respect borders if Ukraine gave it's nukes to Russia, and that didn't happen either.
  • Joe on November 30 2014 said:
    Russian internet trolls at work. Alex what is the weather like in St Petersburg?

    They can't take the facts.

    They are screwed and blaming the west!
  • Lee James on November 30 2014 said:
    Running through all of these comments is the theme that energy is an economic weapon. Historically, wars are fought over fossil fuel energy. Fossil fuel energy is more portable, so I think there's a kind of "bag and take" mentality.

    Russia is safe with its oil. But the Western world may decide not to take (purchase) Russian energy in the future. The West may decide that it is prudent to spend more on alternatives to fossil fuels, and on alternatives to Russian fossil fuels, in particular.
  • Alex on November 29 2014 said:
    Ukraine is just instrument! It is bad for the Ukrainian people!
    It is the instrument of U.S. geopolitical game! Brussels and Washington support
    Ukrainian fascists. They forget WW-II !

    Look, it was Washington and Brussels who supported the Kosovo precedent.
    It was they invention! What does it happen to Crimea?! There was referendum
    in Crimea, there was not referendum in Kosovo!
  • Alex on November 29 2014 said:
    Quatermass,

    I can see US is exporting "democracy values" to Iraq, Serbia, Afghanistan, Lybia.
    And everybody see: the population of these countries are happy!
    Check how many military bases Pentagon has outside U.S! These bases are the bases to promote values?! You promote "democracy values" with the help
    of bombs and drones! But in reality they are not values but Washington's intention to keep the global control!
    Come on!
  • Al Tinfoil on November 29 2014 said:
    Poland was complaining lately that Russia refused to accept Poland's apples as a result of the sanction and counter-sanction moves of the EU and Russia. Then Poland complained that the Russians refused to accept Poland's coal. This sounds like a great opportunity for Poland to sell its coal to Ukraine to replace the Russian coal supplies. The only problem seems to be that Ukraine has no money to pay for coal from Poland. Hello, Uncle Sam, Hello, Brussels......

    As for coal coming from South Africa, I recall something to the effect that a criminal investigation of government insiders had started in Ukraine because the coal they were buying from S.A. tripled in price by the time it got to Ukraine.
  • birdys on November 28 2014 said:
    Lets be honest with the South African deal... Ukraine massed up themselves and in the end got much higher prices. That is why it stopped!
  • Quatermass on November 28 2014 said:
    Aex .. stop watching your beloved russian/Putin-hitler propaganda RT channel and be realistic WITH THE TRUTH ,1) putin-hitler would never let his PAID PUPPET yanokovich leave 2)Crimea IS still part of Ukraine with people living there who want to stay ukranian and not russian by point of a gun or by forced removal like the Tartars etc.3)The low educated paid mercenary puppets of east ukraine and the poor soldiers of russia who are forced to go to ukraine is what is keeping the civil war alive there 4) the reason Ukraine had cheap gas was because Ukraine let Put-lio keep his fleet in the crimea 5)There IS no risk to gas supplies to Europe... Putin/hitler needs europe, lets face it, all russia is a a big petrol station and nothing more WHICH IS ENDING FAST THANKS TO RENEWABLES OVER THE NEXT 10 YEARS AND FRACKING. 5) MH17 would have been fine but for a russian missile launcher seen running back to russia afterwards 6)it will be russia asking ukraine for loans in 10 years or maybe RUSSIA SHOULD COMMIT GENOCIDE AGAINST THE UKRANIANS LIKE IN 1932 WHEN RUSSIA STARVED 6 MILLION UKRANIANS TO DEATH.... no one needs russia and putin-hulio should realise this, russia will collapse again , its banks collapsed in 98 and it was the west that saved russia... i think you better start grabbing land from other areas like HHHHMMMMMM AFGANISTAN perhaps .. no one is scared of russia and the west got along fine during the cold war when russia had more countries in the USSR LOL. and lastly your anthem should be changed ... THERE IS NO UNION AND YOUR FATHERLAND IS A DICTATORSHIP , NOT FREE !
  • Ivan on November 28 2014 said:
    Ukraine is bankrupt, cannot pay. Burn wood, grass, and cow manure. Russia will soon be in the same predicament because fusion energy will replace oil, coal, and natural gas.
  • Wren0102 on November 28 2014 said:
    Choose your alternative energy
  • Let the elements guide you on November 28 2014 said:
    A great opportunity to switch now to renewables. Wind Sun Water Earth
  • moleman on November 28 2014 said:
    "Ukraine has some gas in storage, but the amount it now holds would meet the country’s needs for only about three-and-a-half months."

    Well, then they should stop complaining about making ith through the winter...
  • Aex on November 28 2014 said:
    If West does not support military coup in Kiev in February : 1) President Janukovich would be dismissed peacefully by now; 2) Crimea still would be Ukrainian; 3) there would not be the CIVIL WAR in Ukraine; 4) Russia would supply Ukraine the gas with the low price; 5) there would not be the risk for the gas supply to Europe; 5) Boeing 777 would arrive to its destination; 6) Ukraine would get 18 bln USD loan from Russia. But Washington and Brussels did all they best to destabilize UKraine!

    I think it is they turn to help Ukraine with coal, electric power and gas! Why should Russia do this?!

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