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Azarov: High Russian gas price will force Ukraine to turn to coal

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Jan. 14, 2012, 2:04 p.m. | Ukraine — by Kyiv Post Staff

Kyiv Post Staff

Ukraine could sharply cut down on increasingly expensive Russian natural gas imports, switching to domestic coal more as a fuel if Moscow refuses to renegotiation an existing supply agreement, Ukraine's Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said according to a Jan. 13 Interfax-Ukraine news report. “Speaking of using coal instead of gas, when gas costs $416 [per 1,000 cubic meters] as it does now, coal use is appropriate and economically justified. But if the gas price goes down and will be, for instance, $220, then using coal as opposed to gas will be inefficient,” Interfax-Ukraine quoted the prime minister as saying.

Ukraine has set the task of seriously cutting the consumption of expensive Russian natural gas in 2012. Already a meeting has been held to decide who will be in charge of what, “and the work got under way in full swing,” Azarov added.

In 2010-2011, the government was seriously focusing on coal industry development, and in 2011 Ukraine reached a coal surplus of 5 million tons.

Ukraine aims to switch, where possible, to its own fuel: coal and alternative sources, the prime minister said.

At the same time, Ukraine is set to continue talks with Russia to reduce the price of its natural gas, he said.

“On the one hand, we persist in talks with Russian partners, and on the other, we are preparing the country to manage such a gas price,” Azarov said.

Ukraine increased coal production in 2011 by nearly 9 percent to 82 million tons and plans to further boost extraction in 2012 to 84 million tons.
The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous Jan. 14, 2012, 5:27 p.m.    

Poor Russians. No one wants their high priced gas.

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Anonymous Jan. 15, 2012, 6:23 p.m.    

All alternative energy uses should be explored and this should have taken place a long time ago. There is no way Ukrainians should continue to be blackmailed in all things because of Russian natural gas and the Russians continue to demand more money from you than the gas is actually worth. Their goal is to break Ukraine and its economy and force you to run back to the Russian Sphere of control like the Old Soviet days. Get off the addiction. There are many other fuels including your own coal. Use them, expand them and break the Russian addiction which is actually Russian control and interference in your independence.

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Anonymous Jan. 17, 2012, 10:11 a.m.    

Conservation and diversification is the solution. Transiting to coal would be a backward step in terms of Carbon pollution.

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Anonymous Jan. 17, 2012, 12:19 p.m.    

That is only relevant if you believe in the Greenhouse Gases theory, which has not been proved. And a full transition to coal is not necessary. I do think that energy efficiency can be improved, though, and that certainly should be done.

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