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Ukrainian Government Greenlights U.S. LNG Imports

The government of Ukraine, which is keen to wean itself off Russian energy supplies, approved on Wednesday a plan to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States, Reuters reported, citing a televised government meeting.

Under the memorandum approved by the government, Ukraine will be importing at least 5.5 billion cubic meters of LNG annually, while the seller will be Louisiana Natural Gas Exports Inc, according to acting energy minister Olga Buslavets.

Ukraine has been seeking for years to diversify its oil and gas supplies away from Russia after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. The Russian annexation of Crimea drew reactions from the U.S. and the EU, which imposed sanctions on some Russian energy firms and projects, prohibiting Western firms and banks from working with Russian projects.

In an interview with Interfax-Ukraine in March, the Deputy Energy and Environmental Protection Minister of Ukraine, Kostiantyn Chyzhyk, said that the government had agreed with the U.S. Department of State on annual supply of 6-8 billion cubic meters of LNG to Ukraine.

“We have already signed a letter of intent (LOI) with the U.S. Louisiana Natural Gas Exports, Inc. Moreover, they were ready to sign a memorandum with specific figures and obligations, but we legally need some time to work out all the issues to authorize the relevant agencies to sign such a contract,” Chyzhyk told Interfax-Ukraine two months ago.

Ukraine and Poland, which also seeks diversified energy supplies, signed in August last year a trilateral memorandum of cooperation with the United States to enhance the regional security of natural gas supply.

Last week, the Ukrainian port Odessa on the Black Sea also received its first-ever crude oil cargo of WTI Crude from the United States, after the U.S. shipped its first oil to Ukraine just last year. Ukraine’s first-ever U.S. crude oil cargo was received in July last year, when a tanker carried 80,000 tons of Bakken crude to the port of Odessa.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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