Ukrainian energy companies do not confirm Prodan’s info on the renewal of coal supplies from Russia

Ukrainian energy companies do not confirm Prodan’s info on the renewal of coal supplies from Russia
Yuriy Prodan hastened to tell reporters that Russia partially resumed deliveries of thermal coal in Ukraine
Photo: Bloomberg via Getty Images

For now Ukraine cannot compensate the shortage of coal for the winter heating season and cannot do without rolling blackouts across the country, which started yesterday. Nevertheless, officials still indulge in wishful thinking. Yesterday, Acting Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Prodan told reporters that Russia partially resumed deliveries of power generating coal to Ukraine. In fact, a number of experts believe that Russia is still artificially blocking deliveries of coal to force the Ukrainian leadership to start negotiations with representatives of the DPR and LPR on the supply of coal from their territory.

Energy dependence

Coal imports from Russia were suspended in the middle of last month, which triggered panic among consumers because solid fuel stocks in the warehouses of Ukrainian thermal power plants are running low. In addition to that, Ukraine has recently lost alternative supplies. Based on power industry specifications there should be at least 5.6 mn t of coal in warehouses. As of today, there are only 1.5 mn t, Head of the Independent Miners’ Union Mykhailo Volynets said yesterday.

Last month, coal stocks were slightly replenished thanks to imports from the Republic of South Africa under the contract with Steel Mont. But after the prosecutor’s office began the inspection of the legality of the transaction Steel Mont decided to limit the supply to 0.5 mn t of coal instead of the planned 1 mn t.


There was some uncertainty about yesterday’s statement from Prodan about partial recovery of coal supplies from Russia. He even made a reservation saying that there were some problems with imports from Russia. “A part of coal products are waved through the border, while some are deterred for no reason, which means deliveries are irregular,” complained Prodan. At the same time, he said both the state-owned Centrenergo and the DTEK controlled by Rinat Akhmetov are experiencing problems with the supply of coal.

Meanwhile, Spokeswoman for Centrenergo Oksana Yehorova said that the company’s TPPs received no coal from Russia: “There are no deliveries. The cars loaded with coal are stuck on the border”. Asked about the company’s plans to cover the shortage, Yehorova said the government should resolve this issue, adding that the current coal reserves will only be sufficient for two weeks.

Representatives of the press service of DTEK said railcars registered by November 21 were on their way to Ukraine. “New deliveries of coal are not being carried out. On November 26, DTEK received a written response from its Russian suppliers – release of products was prohibited by the order of Russian Railways,” representatives of the press service of the company stated. “The prospect of further deliveries remains unclear. In this situation, DTEK is considering alternative options for supplies”.

Supposedly unaware

Officials in Russia are pretending that they have nothing to do with the problems of the Ukrainian energy sector. Answering the question about the reasons for delays in the delivery of coal to Ukraine, Head of the Public Relations Administration of the coal company Kuzbassrazrezugol Larisa Beresneva said the following: “I have no information about any delays in deliveries. Every month, we supply 300,000–400,000 tons of coal only to DTEK”.

Representatives of the Russian Railways said yesterday that the company did not impose any bans on the supply of coal to Ukraine. The press service of RZhD made it clear that the expedition of railcars transporting coal was suspended manually due to infrastructure overload at border crossings in Russia and Ukraine. Representative of RZhD said at the moment there is no information about the delay of coal deliveries to Ukraine. At the same time, there is no guarantee that there will be no delays or interruptions in transportation of coal due to the aforementioned reasons.

Representatives of the Public Relations Department of the Ministry of Energy of Russia, which local experts call one of the initiators of the ban on coal supplies to Ukraine, refused to comment on the situation.

Underlying reason?

Volynets believes that the main reason for interruptions in the import of coal from Russia is that the latter is trying to persuade Ukraine to start negotiations and the procurement of coal from mines controlled by the DPR and LPR. He says that national and private mines in the occupied territories have more than 5 mn t of coal on their balance. He says in order to prevent the uprising of the population in the occupied regions (close to 3.5 mn) due to the fact that that local authorities cannot pay salaries or provide them with food, Russia is applying pressure on Ukraine to resolve social problem in the occupied regions by purchasing fuel for its power plants. The expert believes that if Russian coal does not reach Ukraine, the country will have no other choice but to buy fuel from the DPR and LPR.

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