During a briefing on Tuesday, Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko said that the situation in Ukraine's energy system is "under control and the state knows how to solve problems if they arise." He also assured that there will be no fan outages, enough coal, plenty of gas, reserves, heat is generated, and if you have cold batteries and electricity is turned off at noon and you saw photos of empty coal depots - it's all fakes and "it's something different." In short, as in the Soviet classic movie Aladdin's Magic Lamp - "everything is quiet in Baghdad..."
Herman Galushchenko claims that "today the consumption due to cooling has increased by 1,000 MW, by December, 21 the consumption is 22,500 MW. So, with such consumption today we have a significant reserve of power system capacity to provide adequate electricity." According to the Minister, six ships with 400,000 tons of coal have already arrived in Ukraine, and four more out of 300,000 tons are expected by the end of the year. The consumption will be around 1,8 mln tons in December, supplies - above 2 mln tons, of which 1.55 million is our own production. Accordingly, by the end of December we will increase coal reserves in warehouses," said the Minister.
On Wednesday, December 22, while staying at the Tashlyk PSP in the Mykolaiv region, Galushchenko once again stressed that “on December 21, consumption in the country was 22.5 thousand megawatts. This is a big consumption. Today (December 22, 2021) consumption, due to the fact that the temperature has dropped, is about 24 thousand. And we are calmly covering this consumption, having the appropriate reserves. That's why I am asking you very much: this topic is that everything is gone, everything will be turned off, it needs to be finished."
But how to "finish" it, if only recently "Ukrenergo" published information that as of December 21, the actual reserves of coal in thermal power plants amounted to 463,400 tons against 459,600 tons on December 14 (with a minimum guaranteed demand of 921.5 thousand tons), which is twice less than guaranteed stocks? The daily supply of coal is 55.5 thousand tons with 57.7 thousand tons of daily use.
Ukrteplokomunenergo Inter-Sectoral Association writes a letter to the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denis Shmygal, claiming that due to lack of funding and policy of Naftogaz Trading, after using negotiated volumes at the fixed prices heat supply companies will be forced to relocate equipment into "technological armor" mode, to ensure the preservation of indoor heating systems in working condition (frost protection), and accordingly inform consumers.
The Association of Ukrainian Cities also addressed the Government with a request to fix electricity prices for budget institutions and utilities. According to the AUC, from July to December 2021, the average price of electricity supply to budget organizations increased by 78%. The AUC has almost doubled the overall level of increase in local government expenditures on electricity in the first nine months of 2021. It is noted that now, depending on the region and the distribution company, the average cost of electricity for budget organizations - about 5 UAH per kWh. "At the same time, electricity suppliers are already offering a price of 1 kWh for UAH 8, during the relevant purchases by budgetary institutions and public utilities," the letter reads. The association believes that such an increase in energy prices threatens the continued provision of public services: centralized water supply, education and health services, outdoor lighting of cities and passenger transportation by electric transport.
From December 1, gas reserves in Ukrainian underground storage facilities decreased by 8% to 14.7 billion cubic meters. Since the beginning of the month, non-residents have reduced the volume from 1.1 to 0.8 billion cubic meters. Since the beginning of the heating season, gas reserves in underground storage facilities have fallen by 20%. Despite the fact that Naftogaz reports an increase in its own gas production , the figures of independent monitoring suggest otherwise.
During December 13-19, the GTS received 385.5 million cubic meters of natural gas from mining companies, which is almost the same as last week (384.5 million cubic meters).
In general, in the gas supply segment, gas extraction volumes increased by 12% to 531.9 million cubic meters. Gas imports, both physical and in virtual reverse mode, are actually absent for a month and a half. Gross gas consumption for the week increased by 5% to 752.8 million cubic meters. Natural gas prices at Ukrainian Energy Exchange remained unchanged at UAH 36,000 per thousand cubic meters, while the reduced price of blue fuel at European hubs to the border of Ukraine increased to 54,000 UAH per thousand cubic meters.
The authorities are reassuring citizens that they will not increase tariffs for households during the heating season. For example, Rostislav Shurma, deputy head of the President's Office, says that “some tariffs may be slightly adjusted within inflation expectations to 10-11%, including gas distribution and delivery tariffs. However, the price of gas for the population will not increase during the current heating season. However, the same Yuri Vitrenko says that Naftogaz will not be able to keep gas prices low for a long time, because the population now receives gas five to six times cheaper than the resource actually costs.
The Ministry of Energy publishes winning reports that the energy system will withstand peak loads. Zaporizhzhya and South Ukrainian nuclear power plants (NPPs) have reached higher than nominal capacity , which is an absolute record. Zaporizhzhya NPP operates at 6,140 MW, South Ukraine - at 3,050 MW. For the first time, Energoatom operates 14 power units out of 15 available. But this is almost 100% of the power of the atom. They do not cover the general deficit. On the night of December 21, Ukraine demanded emergency assistance from Slovakia due to the emergency shutdown of Unit №7 of DTEK's Burshtyn TPP.
Total electricity production (December 13 - 19) increased by 3.2% compared to the previous week - up to 3.39 million MWh. Growth was provided by nuclear generation: + 1.8% - up to 2.07 million MWh; thermal (TPP and CHP): + 10.1% - up to 1.07 million MWh, big hydrogeneration: + 4.7% - up to 0.14 million MWh. Renewable generation (RES) production decreased by a quarter to 0.11 million MWh.
In the total energy mix for the week, the share of nuclear generation was 61%, the share of TPPs and CHPs increased to 32% from 29%, the share of hydrogeneration is 4% of total production, and the share of RES fell to 3% from 4%.
There were 34 heat generation units (TPPs and CHPs) with a total operating capacity of 5.4 GW. There are eight more units in reserve: the 3rd block of Slovyanskaya TPP, the 3rd and 4th blocks of Ladyzhynskaya TPP, the 3rd and 4th blocks of Zaporizhzhya TPP, the 4th block of Burshtyn TPP, the 6th block of Dobrotvirskaya TPP and the 10th unit of the Dnieper TPP.
Due to the lack of fuel, the number of non-functioning heat generation units decreased to 20 out of 21, compared to last Friday. Another 11 units are under repair.
All these discrepancies between the real performance of the industry and the statements of the Minister of Energy Galushchenko and Prime Minister Shmygal in the style of "everything is quiet in Baghdad" can not keep us calm as ordinary consumers of services. Authorities say everything is OK. Let's skip the peak cooling and increase in electricity, heat and gas consumption. But figures show that the government is on the edge. There is no margin of safety in the system and it can lie down at any moment.
Today, the Ministry of Energy says that there are no fan outages. It's all fiction. Does it seem to us that under the sign of planned repairs of networks electricity is turned off in regions across all Ukraine for half a day? Did it seem to you, Romanenko and Sazonov? According to a recent KIIS poll , one in four Ukrainians (26.1%) has been cut off from the start of the heating season.
It is worth noting the strange situation with the import of electricity from Belarus, where they reproduced a kind of "RosUkrEnergo 2.0". Procurement of Belarusian electricity is not under direct contracts, but through the offshore company "Vector Energy Innovation FZCO", registered in Dubai. After Tradenergoresource LLC replaced TET Group in the import scheme from the Ukrainian side, it makes no sense to guess who the ultimate beneficiary is. Vector Energy Innovation FZCO is the owner of Tradenergoresurs LLC, and in both cases, in the Arabic company and in the Ukrainian LLC, they are backed by Andriy Ivanchuk, the “owner” of the Dovira group.
Victor Taran describes this scheme as follows: Ivanchuk with the help of Butenko from "TET Group" screw "Energoatom" for 460 million UAH at the auction for the cross section for the import of electricity from Belarus. Then Ivanchuk & Co. creates a scheme where through an Arab intermediary they receive a surplus of 40% margin. Losses from auctioning and withdrawal from Energoatom are transferred to the state. As a result, Ivanchuk bought the Kalush CHP in the "small privatization" scheme for the money he earned. More about it here .
It's total mess! And Galushchenko is in charge of it. Because although he is not involved in the import of electricity, but he knows this topic well.
Personnel wars , which Galushchenko's team is waging in the SNRCU, in the coal sector, in "Energoatom" against opponents in the power industry and so on also do not support an idea that "the situation is under control". Any criticism of the ministry's actions is seen by its head as contract of his enemies against him personally.
At the same time, we are expecting a new cold snap in late January. Industry leaders do not have a Plan B. The reserves mentioned by Mr. Galushchenko are insufficient to pass the month of frosts. Imports of coal and gas at a price of more than 2 thousand dollars are unaffordable for the budget. Maintaining low utility tariffs for the population will create Mariana Trench in the state budget in 2022.
Today it is necessary not to calm down and put people in a warm bath, but to tell the truth, to prepare for possible crises. The warm bath could turn into an ice shower with corresponding consequences for the ratings of President Zelenskyy and the Servants. Is it what they want on Bankova?