In the last week we have witnessed a significant aggravation of the situation in the energy sector. Miners are on strike, the Security Service of Ukraine is sending letters to the Cabinet of Ministers warning of a critical situation with coal, and regulators are unanimously saying that an ideal storm is imminent. Even in the elite cottage towns near Kyiv, the lights are turned off almost for hald a day, under the guise of repair work. Experts unanimously say that we will not pass the peak frosts, and the system will definitely shut down. What is the management of the Ministry of Energy doing at this time? It wages personnel wars and solves its iiner games. Every day Bankova is alerted to the risks, while the president's office allows the head of the relevant department to let the country's energy down.
THE COAL BUNKER
On January 16, newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnya published a report of the Security Service of Ukraine, which it sent to the Cabinet of Ministers, on counterintelligence support of critical infrastructure in the electricity sector, warning the Government that Ukraine is one step away from shutting down heat generating companies due to critically low coal reserves. In particular, "as of December 1, 2021, there are 486.2 thousand tons of coal in warehouses with a planned accumulation of 2632.7 thousand tons (deviation ─ 2146.5 thousand tons), which in turn indicates a critical stock."
The special services claim that the Slavic TPP Donbasenergo has 50 times less than the required coal stock (there are 1.6 thousand tons in warehouses with a plan of 105 thousand tons); Luhansk TPP DTEK Zahidenergo has four times lower than the minimum required reserves (36 thousand tons against the plan of 120 thousand tons); Chernihiv CHP ─ stocks five times lower than the norm (6.5 thousand tons with a plan of 45 thousand tons); Darnytsya CHP has no reserves at all (there is no coal at all under the plan of 55.2 thousand tons).
Interestingly, such an analysis, with appropriate forecasts, was submitted not only by the SBU. Back in the summer of this year, a number of leading experts sent their warnings to Bankova about the crisis in the coal industry and that, if ignored, it would lead to fan outages and cascading accidents of electrical systems and heating networks. However, the authorities did not pay attention. The Ministry of Energy and the Cabinet of Ministers believed that they had a safety margin and that the deficit would be covered by imports. Not covered. Now even people far from energy understand this.
Today we have not only a catastrophic shortage of coal for heat generation. Qualitative parameters of this coal, from the analysis of indicators of the remains of warehouses in previous periods are much lower (ash content 30-35%, calories up to 4000 kcal). On average, 18 to 20 TPP units and 3-5 CHP units no longer operate due to lack of fuel (because of repairs).
In early November, exports of thermal coal from Russia to Ukraine and transit of coal through Russia from Kazakhstan were blocked. DTEK's American coal is not enough to close the hole.
In recent years, the management of the Ministry of Energy has, for better or worse, stopped its own coal production and reduced its volume. 32 state-owned mines were almost bankrupt. The situation with coal is not the best in DTEK's mines either.
For example, DTEK Dobropolevuhilya produced 3.8 million tons of coal in 2020, excluding the Belozerskaya mine. In 2021 - 2.5 million tons, and in 2022 the program of economic activity approved by the Ministry of Energy, the planned production is 1.3 million tons.
DISBALANCE IN COAL INDUSTRY
On December 13, miners from the Chervonohradska mine of the Lvivugol State Enterprise passed through the central streets of Lviv and began a protest near the Lviv Regional State Administration building. The main requirement is to repay the salary arrears to the employees of the enterprise. Their colleagues from the Stepova mine are holding a rally in the center of Chervonohrad.
On December 16, labor mines from various regions of the country arrived in Kyiv for a large-scale protest near the Office of the President, the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers and the Ministry of Energy. According to the statement of the leader of the NPGU (Independent miners' union of ukraine), People's Deputy Mykhailo Volynets, wage arrears to employees of state mines exceed UAH 2 billion.
The Ministry of Energy, instead of solving the problem, has comprehensively resorted to manipulations to partially repay debts. Volynets says that UAH 570 million of Centerenergo funds were distributed. Of these funds, almost UAH 200 million will be allocated to Lvivugol. But this is clearly not enough. The situation could be remedied by passing the bill № 5891-1, on the allocation of 2.4 billion UAH by the end of the year to stabilize the work of state-owned mines.
But the "servants" failed him, limiting themselves to "a little" in the form of a bill №6347 to extend the moratorium on the bankruptcy of state mines until 2024.
Despite the loss, the state-owned mines still have significant potential for increasing coal production - about 12 million tons, which can be used by modernizing the mines in the coming years. But why doesn't the Ministry of Energy do this and stimulate the growth of its own coal production? Not profitable? To whom?
There is even less logic in the activities of the Ministry of Energy in the management of state mines. Thus, the labor collective and trade union organizations of the state enterprise "The mine named after M.S. Surgai" published a letter to the Minister of Energy Herman Galushchenko. In it, miners require the official not to make personnel changes at the mine without the consent of its employees. According to the mine staff, such a decision is currently being discussed in the Ministry of Energy. The current head of the Surgai mine is perhaps the last of the adequate managers, but inconvenient for the Ministry.
In many state-owned mines there are directors who have no idea about the production process and organization of enterprises. Only in the last year there has been a real turnover of top management in state-owned mines.
Natural gas production of JSC Ukrgazvydobuvannya for 10 months of this year decreased by 4.5% (compared to the same period last year). Naftogaz is buying up to 3 billion cubic meters of imported natural gas. As a result, additional costs of about 44.5 billion UAH (funds will be received from the company "GTS Operator of Ukraine").
The Ministry of Energy plans to convert thermal power plants from coal to gas. But where to take it?
The total gas supply in gas storage facilities is 15.1 billion cubic meters. With the increase in consumption to 150-160 million cubic meters per day (at "minus" 8-10 ° C per day), the gas supply system expects significant loads.
Gas reserves in the UGS of Ukraine on December 13, 2021
Olga Buslavets claims that since the beginning of the OPP, more gas has been extracted from storage facilities than 3.7 billion cubic meters have been pumped this year.
There have been no gas imports since October. The price of gas in Europe in January is projected at a minimum of € 1,500 per 1,000 cubic meters.
Now the consequences are possible: in the event of an artificial escalation of the conflict with Russia - a possible blockade of ports by Russia and the cessation of gas transit through the GTS of Ukraine; in case of emergency shutdowns - disconnection of the system of the pumps pumping the heat carrier in cities, with further freezing and destruction of heating systems in severe frostsx...
With such a threatening state of energy at hand, the relevant ministry is concentrating its efforts not on solving it, but on waging information wars for positions.
A rather thorough analysis of the history with the change of the supervisory board and the board of Ukrenergo was given by the publication Monopolist . In 2021, Ukrenergo returned to the management of the Ministry of Energy. At the end of November, Ukrenergo's Supervisory Board ceased to exist due to the expiration of its term. And its last member, Yuri Tokarsky, has resigned. Since then, the functions of the supervisory board have been performed by a shareholder - the Ministry of Energy.
Taking advantage of the fact that a new supervisory board has not yet been appointed, Galushchenko has prepared an order to expand the board from 5 to 7 and replace three people on the board to ensure personal control over the company. In addition, he expanded the powers of the Ministry of Energy in terms of influencing the operational work of Ukrenergo (amended the charter and regulatory documents).
When this information was released, all international donors were opposed. At Bankova Galushchenko was reprimanded and forced to revoke the order to replace the board.
In fact, Galushchenko tried to clean up the board of Ukrenergo from people from Volodymyr Kudrytsky's team (who are linked to the former leader Vsevolod Kovalchuk) and ensure manual control. Galushchenko was forced to replay the situation, but the actions of the ministry have already been assessed as a violation of the principle of corporate governance - he changed the company's management without a decision of the supervisory board. This may delay the certification of Ukrenergo as a European system operator. Certification is required to synchronize Ukraine's energy system with the European one. We are undergoing a test mode in February. And this is extremely important for Bankova. It is more important than Galushchenko's "salvation".
Galushchenko's next fake may be a personnel conflict with the head of the State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation, Hryhoriy Plachkov. Let me remind you that on December 9, the head of the Ministry of Energy decided to arrange a "public punishment" of Plachkov at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers, asking questions about the assessment of the activities of the NIA and dismissal of management. The scandal went beyond the Government. Plachkov spoke publicly against Galushchenko.
Galushchenko's conflict with the Plachkov clan was long overdue. In fact, these are stories of wars for Energoatom. The Plachkovs have always opposed the Derkach team, to which Galushchenko himself belongs. If for the time being the minister thinks that after his release he will be able to stay at Energoatom, the Plachkovs (not the last people in the nuclear power industry) will do everything to "catch up" with him there as well.
Galushchenko's campaign with his probable successors deserves special mention. Butenko has already written about the minister's war with the owner of TET Group . In fact, Butenko is also not carrying debt . Galushchenko's pool strikes former ministry leaders Olga Buslavets, Oleksiy Orzhel and others.
When you read bloggers from Galushchenko's pool, you get the impression that there are no more problems in the energy sector, except exposing every character that Galushchenko suspected of ambitions to work in the state management of the industry.
Instead, energy has reached a steep peak, which it may not overcome, with all the catastrophic consequences. Nobody wants to go to work in the Ministry of Energy while the current leadership is there. People who work in the market openly talk to the camera about the unprofessional leadership of the Ministry of Energy. Galushchenko's team urged the SBU to propose a state of emergency in the industry. Western partners have long stepped back from the non-handshake minister, and are addressing his curator, the head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak.
Therefore, when you turn off the lights and heat, when the boilers and public transport stop, do not ask the Minister, go immediately to Bankova. The person in charge is on the second floor. And you all know his last name.