Natural resources and energy
Ukraine has good assets on coal and iron, as well as manganese, nickel and uranium. There are deposits of natural gas and oil, but the country is largely dependent on imports to meet its extensive energy needs.
The main iron ore deposit is located in the district of Kryvyj Rih in the south. Coal is mainly mined in the Donetsk fields (Donbas) in eastern Ukraine. The coal has relatively low quality and is broken under increasingly difficult conditions, which has resulted in falling production and many accidents (see Labor market). The conflict in eastern Ukraine has also led to reduced production and supply problems.
- COUNTRYAAH: Major exports by Ukraine with a full list of the top products exported by the country. Includes trade value in U.S. dollars and the percentage for each product category.
Coal accounts for about one third of the country’s energy production. Ukraine has been heavily dependent on natural gas and oil from Russia. Higher prices of mainly natural gas have forced Ukraine to reduce imports, which has periodically led to energy shortages. The cheap gas that came from Russia during the Soviet era laid the foundation for waste of energy, a habit that Ukraine has had a hard time getting rid of. Energy consumption in Ukraine is relatively higher than in Western Europe.
A large part of Russian oil and gas sold to Western Europe has usually been transported by pipelines from the Soviet era over Ukrainian territory. It has brought Ukraine large revenues in the form of so-called transit fees; In 2017, state Naftogaz was reported to have earned nearly $ 1.1 billion on transit contracts. At the same time, recurring disputes with Russia over the price of natural gas purchases and transit fees have on several occasions caused major disruptions in deliveries to the rest of Europe (see Foreign Policy and Defense). The share of Russian gas exports going through Ukraine fell from about 80 percent to 60 percent as the Nord Stream pipeline was commissioned in 2011-2012. The continued expansion in the Baltic Sea of Nord Stream 2 between Russia and Germany, and the prospect of revenue declines further, worries Ukraine. Before the New Year 2020, a new agreement was signed with Russia on reduced transit volumes, and they will continue to be reduced. By 2024, transit gas through Ukraine is estimated to have reduced to 40 billion cubic meters per year from 65 billion cubic meters in 2020 (and from 90 billion according to the previous contract; this is more than half a five-year period).
- Abbreviationfinder: A popular acronym site in the world covering abbreviation for each country. For example, UP stands for Ukraine. Visit itypeusa for more information about Ukraine.
Ukraine has worked actively to get rid of the dependence on energy imports from Russia. Prior to the Russian annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014, Ukraine purchased Russian gas, at a discount because the peninsula housed a Russian naval base. Since November 2015, Ukraine does not buy any Russian gas at all. Instead, gas now comes from about ten suppliers in Western Europe. At the same time, increased prices to consumers have reduced waste and pushed down consumption.
Hopes to extract natural gas from shale with the help of several American energy companies have so far stalled because of the war in the east. But the potential is great; shale gas reserves are believed to be among the largest in Europe and new technology with high-pressure drills can provide access to previously inaccessible deposits. However, there are major environmental objections to this form of energy recovery.
Nuclear power accounts for just under half of electricity production in Ukraine. The Chernobyl power plant was completely shut down in 2000. The remaining four nuclear power plants have a total of 15 reactors, three of which were added after the country’s independence.
FACTS – ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENT
Energy use per person
2,334 kilograms of oil equivalent (2014)
Electricity consumption per person
3419 kWh, kWh (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions in total
227 299 thousand tonnes (2014)
Carbon dioxide emissions per inhabitant
5.0 tonnes (2014)
The share of energy from renewable sources
4.1 percent (2015)
Cheating is allowed
Julia Tymoshenko’s hunger strikes for almost three weeks in protest against electoral fraud and within her party, votes are being raised to boycott the new parliament. The Central Election Commission admits that such gross errors were committed in five one-man constituencies that the election must be redone there.
Big election victory for the government
The parliamentary election will be a clear victory for the ruling Regions Party. Two new parties succeed in entering Parliament through the party lists: the Western-oriented Udar and the nationalist Svoboda (Freedom). Julia Tymoshenko’s motherland receives just over 25 percent of the vote. More than half of the 225 mandates distributed in direct elections in one-man constituencies go to the Party of Regions and a further number to formally independent candidates supporting President Yanukovych. The opposition complains about election fraud and is partially supported by OSCE observers.
Language law protests
Powerful protests have erupted since Parliament passed a law that gives Russian status as a “regional language” in areas where it is the mother tongue of at least 10 percent of the population. The law forces all authorities to provide services in regional languages. The opposition party is accused by the opposition of wanting to bring Ukraine closer to Russia’s sphere of interest.
Political summit postponed
With a few days’ notice, a planned regional summit in Yalta is postponed indefinitely. The reason is that 13 of the 20 invited European heads of state or government said they would not come. The absence is linked to criticism of Tymoshenko’s treatment. She is reported to have interrupted her hunger strike after 19 days after being taken to hospital.
New trial against Tymoshenko
Tymoshenko is again being tried, now for tax evasion. She does not find herself in court with reference to severe back problems. German doctors who have had her examined in prison say she needs advanced care. She later launches a hunger strike in protest at how she is being treated in prison. Information that she would have been beaten by guards in connection with a hospital transport is noted with concern by the EU, prompting the German president to cancel a planned visit to Ukraine.
More Tymoshenko ministers are imprisoned
Former Minister of the Environment Heorhij Filiptjuk is sentenced to three years in prison for abuse of power for having signed a contract with a law firm in connection with oil exploration in the Black Sea. A few days later, former Deputy Defense Minister Valerij Ivashchenko is sentenced to prison for illegal privatization of a state shipyard.
Tymoshenko’s interior minister is imprisoned
Former Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko, who has been incarcerated without trial since December 2010, is sentenced to four years in prison for abuse of position and embezzlement. The court also orders that his assets be confiscated. Both the European Commission and the Council of Europe criticize the verdict for being politically motivated and demand that Lutsenko be released.