Kyiv, November 3, 2014. The gas deal signed on October 30 between Ukraine and Russia will not only ensure the delivery of natural gas to Ukraine this winter, but might also allow the long-awaited re-organization of the country’s gas sector. While it is very good news that a deal between both parties was reached, Ukraine’s energy dependence on Russia is a risk to national security. This was stated at Ukraine Crisis Media Center by Oleksandr Narbut, the President of the Kyiv Institute for Energy Research.
“I believe that gas deals could allow Ukraine to form a more efficient organization of the gas sector,” stated Narbut. The Kyiv Institute for Energy Research believes that there are both positive and negative aspects of the agreement, but holds that the fact that a deal was made in the first place is significant. “I believe that the deal is neither a victory nor a defeat,” said Narbut. “What is positive in this agreement is that the deal was made, but also there are conditions restricting the ability to use this contract take or pay which is a systemic risk for Ukraine.”
In general, Ukraine’s financial situation is extremely problematic and the future rests on both protecting the vulnerable in society and ensuring the reform of the energy sector. Vulnerable members of Ukrainian society, the poor and the elderly, stand to lose from the loss of energy subsidies and resultant increases in gas prices. “We want to create a model for protecting subsidies for vulnerable parts of the population,” said Narbut. The protection of the vulnerable and ensuring energy security involves the reform of government when it comes to this field, noted the expert.
Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy requires an overhaul of the top to ensure the agency’s professionalism. “There needs to be the understanding that the professional composition of the Ministry of Energy will be renovated in a radical way,” he stated. “Energy security is no less than national security,” and so the problem of Ukraine’s dependence on Russian gas and weakness in negotiations needs to be given the utmost attention. The influence of oligarchic groups in the selection of government means that Ukraine lacks the necessary professionalism to protect its interests. Energy security needs to be understood as a vital aspect of Ukraine’s national security.