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Second shipment of coal arrives in Ukraine to meet demand

December 6, 2021 7:17 pmby Natalia Datskevych
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A crane unloads coal from a cargo ship in Odesa Oblast on Dec. 5, 2021. (DTEK)

Ukraine received the second of seven coal shipments ordered by DTEK Group, Ukraine's largest energy holding, that are meant to sustain the country through the winter.

The 230-meter-long cargo vessel loaded with 66,000 tons of U.S. and Colombian coal arrived at the Pivdennyi seaport in southern Odesa Oblast on Dec. 5.

DTEK, owned by Ukraine's richest man Rinat Akhmetov, placed the orders to combat shortages after Russia "temporarily suspended" exporting coal to Ukraine on Nov. 1, blaming domestic demand.

The first shipment of U.S. coal, 60,500 tons, arrived in Ukraine on Nov. 20. By the end of January, DTEK expects to receive a total of 470,000 tons. 

The imports should help Ukraine's energy system operate smoothly through the heating season, according to Ildar Saleev, CEO at DTEK Energo, which operates coal-fired power plants.

Ukraine was forced to increase coal imports from Russia after it invaded and occupied Ukraine's coal-rich Donbas region in 2014.

As a result, nearly two-thirds of Ukraine's imported coal comes from Russia and the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty previously reported.

In 2020, Ukraine imported 9.5 million tons of coal from Russia, out of a total import volume of 17 million tons. In the first nine months of this year, imports from Russia increased to 10.3 million tons.

According to Andriy Gerus, head of the parliamentary energy сommittee, a quarter of Ukrainian thermal power plants rely on Russian coal, making Russia's halt on imports alarming.

“It is similar to Russia’s actions in the fall of 2014,” Gerus wrote on Twitter in late October.

Other energy authorities are more upbeat. In a Nov. 26 statement, Yuriy Vlasenko, the first deputy minister at the Energy Ministry, said that imports and domestic production are sufficient.

He also noted that Ukraine produces most of its electricity from nuclear power plants. As of the end of November, 13 of the country's 15 nuclear power units are producing a combined 12,000 megawatts.

Natalia Datskevych
Author: Natalia Datskevych

Natalia Datskevych is a business reporter at the Kyiv Independent. Before joining the team, she worked as business reporter for the Kyiv Post. She studied economic theory at Kyiv National Economic University and holds a Ph.D in economic science.

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