Last month’s end run around the Naftogaz Supervisory Board to install a new CEO “makes it very difficult for us to continue to support the company,” EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso

 told Bloomberg yesterday in Warsaw. Under the headline, “Shock CEO Ouster Pushes Ukrainian Gas Giant’s Backer to Brink,” Bloomberg writes: “The EBRD, along with the World Bank, is a key international backer of Naftogaz, helping to give one of Ukraine’s largest companies more financial heft as well as bond-market credibility.”

With doubts clouding future deliveries of Russian gas across Ukraine, Azerbaijan could become a source of imported gas for Ukraine

, says Andriy Prokofiev, head of customer service for Ukraine’s Transmission System Operator. Azeri gas could cross Turkey, then come north to Ukraine through Bulgaria and Romania on the Trans-Balkan pipeline. “The GTS Ukraine operator continues to cooperate with partners from Romania and Moldova on the development of natural gas transportation along the Trans-Balkan route in order to increase import capacity,” he said after a meeting of a Ukrainian-Azerbaijani working group on energy cooperation.

Ukraine is working with Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to become the fulcrum of a Europe-Central Asia transit route

, Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said after meeting with Central Asian diplomats. Ukraine’s Black Sea ports would be the entry points to Europe and Turkmenbashi port would be the entry to Central Asia. At the same time, Yuriy Vitrenko, Naftogaz CEO, is lobbying the US and the EU to force Gazprom to allow Central Asian gas to flow through Ukraine to the EU.

The Naftogaz Supervisory Board may meet as early as Monday to discuss the move by its chair, Clare Spottiswoode, to remove Yuriy Vitrenko as CEO,

 Bloomberg has reported.  However if the three government members of the 6-member Board boycott the meeting, the dismissal would be blocked, wrote Concorde Capital. The Cabinet is opposed to the dismissal and Justice Minister Denys Malyuska says he plans fight the June 15 suspension order by  the National Agency on Corruption Prevention.

Dutch company Bontrup plans to invest €50 million in ‘green’ energy project in the Chornobyl exclusion zone

, the Economy Ministry has report. Over the investment cycle the project could grow to €1.5 billion, providing jobs for 10,000 workers, the Ministry said. With projects in 25 countries, Amsterdam-based Bontrup says of its mission: “We innovate with nature to create new opportunities for sustainable infrastructures, offshore developments, logistics and agricultural production.”

Legal warfare broke out yesterday over Yuriy Vitrenko, the new head of Naftogaz, Ukraine’s largest oil and gas company and the nation’s largest taxpayer.

 The National Agency on Corruption Prevention said the Cabinet violated conflict of interest laws by moving Vitrenko on April 28 from his post as acting Energy Minister to CEO of the state energy company. Last night, Clare Spottiswoode, Chair of the Naftogaz Supervisory Board, called on Vitrenko to step down for 10 days until the legal wrangle is resolved.

Vitrenko accused the anti-corruption body of “selective justice,”

saying that Ukraine’s Cabinet controls Naftogaz, not the Energy Ministry. In a Naftogaz press release, he said that as acting Energy Minister for four months this year, he did not have the right to vote in Cabinet meetings. Vitrenko cited the case of Yevhen Kravtsov, who as shifted in 2017 from First Deputy Infrastructure Minister to CEO of Ukrzaliznytsia. The Infrastructure Ministry has direct control over the state railroad.

Justice Minister Denys Malyuska promised yesterday  to challenge the decision in court

. Prime Minister Shmyhal set a 10-day deadline to resolve the impasse. The challenge to Vitrenko comes as Naftogaz closely watches today’s Biden-Putin meeting in Geneva for news on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Last week, Vitrenko was in Washington, meeting with congressional representatives and journalists to campaign against the Russia-Germany bypass gas line, which is 95% complete.

Ukraine is preparing to take legal action against Gazprom to unblock natural gas supplies from Central Asia,

announced Yuriy Vitrenko, the new Naftogaz CEO (FT). “We are talking about tens of billions of cubic meters…Central Asian gas alone can fill the whole Ukrainian gas transit system,” Vitrenko said. For the last 15 years, Russia has blocked gas from Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan from flowing to the EU. As a result, these nations encouraged China to build a gas pipeline east. Since 2009, the Central Asia–China Gas Pipeline moves gas 7,000 km, from Turkmenistan to Shanghai.

In Geneva tomorrow, President Biden is to meet with President Putin and speak about Nord Stream 2

, the Russia-German gas pipeline that Russia built to bypass Ukraine. Ukraine’s Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba, told Germany’s Welt newspaper that Ukraine “will consider” negotiations on compensation for loss of Gazprom transit fees due to the bypass pipeline.  With compensation talk growing, he said: “The gas pipeline should be used as a lever to encourage Russia to play a constructive role in the peace process in eastern Ukraine.” In Washington, Vitrenko released a video saying that if the Biden Administration

To upgrade gas links with Poland, work is underway on modernizing the final stretch of an 80 km pipeline from the Polish border to the Komarno compressor station in Lviv region

, reports Serhiy Makogon, Director General of Ukraine’s Gas Transmission System Operator.  Although work is to be completed by this time next year, the cross border pipeline links will be inadequate for Ukraine to meet its goal of receiving from Poland 6.6 billion cubic meters – slightly more than half of Ukraine’s total annual imports. Referring to Poland’s Baltic liquefied natural gas landing terminal on the Baltic, Makogon said: “”We are actively working on creating alternative gas supply routes to

Russia is holding back on gas supplies to Europe this summer to create higher prices in winter

, Lana Zerkal, Energy Minister advisor, charged in an interview Saturday on Ukraine 24 TV. “Russia is artificially holding back the European market and is not supplying the volumes that Europe needs now, for example, to fill empty gas storage facilities,” Zerkal, a former Naftogaz official, said. “It was a cold spring. Now we need to fill everything, and gas prices are very high.”

Ukraine’s east-west gas pipeline system is operating at less than 20% of its design capacity

, Volodomyr Gnoevoy, head transit for YE Energia, said Thursday at the Ukrainian Gas Open Forum. Designed to carry 400 billion cubic meters, the system now carries 30 bcm for domestic consumption and 40 bcm for transit. If Russia stops sending gas across Ukraine at the end of the 2024 contract, “all this financial burden will fall on the shoulders of domestic consumers,” he said.

Yuriy Vitrenko, the new CEO of Naftogaz, says he welcomes foreign investors into Ukraine’s oil and gas sector.

From now on, Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company will not “crowd out” foreign energy companies, he promised during a US-Ukraine Business Council webinar yesterday. Speaking from Washington, Vitrenko, a Naftogaz veteran, said he was behind many of the post-Maidan, free market reforms adopted at the company. Edward Chow, a former US energy company executive and a panelist, welcomed the 44-year-old Vitrenko, saying: “You have been preparing all your life for this job.”

Westinghouse fuel will power eight of Ukraine’s 15 nuclear power reactors by 2024,

under a contract signed yesterday between the US company and Energoatom, Ukraine’s state company responsible for nuclear power generation. To reduce dependency on Russian nuclear fuel, Energoatom switches a seventh reactor later this year to fuel supplied by Westinghouse Electric Sweden. In 2024, a second reactor at the Rivne nuclear plant is to make the switch, Westinghouse reports.

The EU’s ‘Carbon Border Tax,’ due to be adopted next month, threatens Ukraine’s industrial and energy status quo,

 speaker after speaker warned yesterday at the European-Ukrainian Energy Day forum in Kyiv. “Electricity trading cross the border may no longer bring in funds for needed investments,” warned Mats Lundin, chairman of the EU Energy Agency. “Steel exports may no longer be a viable business for the large Ukrainian industries that we have learnt to rely on for job opportunities and tax revenues.”

The government is working on a green bond to help repay the nearly $1 billion in Ukrenergo’s overdue debt to solar and wind producers,

 said Ukraine’s Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko. But Baher El-Hifnawi of the World Bank and Mark Magaletsky of the EBRD cautioned that their institutions would only contribute to a bailout package if it were part of a comprehensive package of changes to prevent a recurrence.

A Rada bill to impose a 3.2% excise tax on renewable energy producers “is a step in the wrong direction,

” Nefco, the Helsinki-based Nordic Environment Finance Corp. said in a statement released Wednesday at a solar and wind producers forum in Kyiv. “Fossil energy should be subject to a CO2 tax.” After funding 421 MW of wind and solar projects in Ukraine, Nefco said it has frozen future funding because “the green tariff agreements [are] not being fulfilled.”

Vindkraft Ukraina is suspending plans to build a 200 MW wind farm in Kherson region this year, because “nobody is funding…everything is in limbo

,” Carl Sturen, company CEO, told Interfax-Ukraine after Wednesday’s press conference. If adopted, the excise tax would cost Vindkraft €3 million a year, he estimated. With the changing rules and mounting debts, he said he is “constantly” renegotiating loans with banks.

Italy’s Danieli, a world leader in the production of steel plants, signed a deal yesterday to be the main equipment supplier for Metinvest’s new $1 billion cold rolling shop in Mariupol

. In the first, $800 million phase, Danieli and Metinvest are to build a plant capable of producing 1.2 million tons of steel a year – cold-rolled, galvanized and color-coated. The Italian equipment “will allow Metinvest to achieve world-class product quality at all stages of production – from semi-finished products to coated rolled products,” Yuriy Ryzhenkov, director general of Metinvest, said at the signing ceremony.

Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko met yesterday in Washington with key US Congress members to argue for sanctions to block the opening of the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline

. Separately, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee Monday that the Administration is talking to Germany about reimbursing Ukraine for lost transit fees and about establishing a pipeline cutoff mechanism if Russia moves against Ukraine. “I think it is necessary to ensure that the transit fee that Ukraine may at some point in the future lose as a result gas pipeline…was reimbursed,” Blinken said, according to Radio Free Europe.

Biden will “stand up firmly for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and aspirations,”

US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters about next week’s meeting with Putin. In an interview with Axios posted on Sunday, Zelenskiy asked for a meeting with Biden, complaining about Biden’s decision last month to stop trying to block the Nord Stream 2 Russia-Germany Baltic gas line. “This is a weapon, a real weapon…in the hands of the Russian Federation,” Zelenskiy said. “It is not very understandable…that the bullets to this weapon can possibly be provided by such a

The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, has told a US Congressional committee Monday that Nord Stream 2 is a “fait accompli.”

Referring to worries that this Ukraine bypass pipeline will free Russia to attack Ukraine, Blinken told the House Foreign Affairs Committee: “We have agreements in place, upfront, to come back on any activities by Russia that are challenging the security or economic security of any of those countries.” Russian officials say the $11 billion; 1,230 km pipeline is 95% complete and will be ready to carry gas this fall.

Ukraine’s Internal Affairs Minister Arsen Avakov predicted Saturday that after the launch of Nord Stream 2 Russia could sabotage the pipeline to justify stopping gas transit across Ukraine.

Avakov told reporters: “We expect that there will be provocations, attempted terrorist attacks on our section of the gas pipeline. And then they will say: ‘Look, you see, that is why we transport it through Nord Stream 2.’” Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba arrives in Berlin today for two days of talks with German officials.

Ukraine must show “goodwill” if Russia is to continue shipping its gas across Ukraine after the expiration of the Gazprom contract at the end of 2024,

 President Putin told the annual St Petersburg Forum investment conference on Friday. According to TASS, he said: “There is a possibility to use Ukraine’s gas transport system in the future, even after our current contract expires. Everything is possible and we are ready for it and want it but goodwill from our Ukrainian partners is needed.”

Construction of Nord Stream 2 will be complete by early August

, Putin predicted in his plenary speech, reports Reuters. His Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Novak said that less than 100 km of the 1,230 km Russia-Germany pipeline remains to be built. Putin said Gazprom would start filling the line with gas as soon as Germany grants approval. Gazprom shares rallied after the announcement, reaching 274 rubles ($3.76) per share, their highest level in 13 years. Combined, Nord Stream 1 and 2 will have the capacity to pump 110 bcm a

The pipeline is to be discussed at the June 16 Putin-Biden summit in Geneva.

Two weeks ago, Biden waived sanctions against the company building the pipeline, saying the line is almost finished and relations with Germany take precedence. Former US President Donald Trump, in a speech Saturday in North Carolina, contrasted President Biden’s decision to cancel the Keystone XL Canada-US pipeline with Biden waiving sanctions on Nord Stream 2. Trump said: “He decided to stop the construction of our pipeline, but approved the construction of the Russian one.”

Germany will invest €8 billion in 62 major hydrogen projects

, reports the Green Deal service of Interfax-Ukraine. “We want to become the world leader in hydrogen technology,” Peter Altmeier, Germany’s Minister of Economy and Energy, said Friday. German officials are speaking with their Ukrainian counterparts about producing industrial quantities of hydrogen in Ukraine. Conceivably, Ukraine could use its existing east-west pipeline network to ship hydrogen to the EU.

Ukraine should start working with Poland to integrate gas pipelines and free itself of its dependency on Russian gas,

Bartosz Cichocki, Poland’s Ambassador to Ukraine tells Glavcom news site. Ukraine stopped buying gas from Gazprom in November 2015, and buys Russian gas through intermediaries. Noting that Poland will stop buying gas from Gazprom after next year, the Ambassador said: “We are ready to help your country also become independent of Gazprom. It seems to me this option has no alternatives, because, if Nord Stream 2 starts operating, Russia does not have enough gas to sell through a pipeline running

Foreign gas traders are keeping 4.4 bcm in Ukraine’s underground gas storage facilities – double the amount of this time last year

, reports Ukratransgaz. With Ukraine’s duty free warehouse regime gaining wider acceptance amongst EU companies, foreign-owned gas now accounts for 28% of the 15.5 bcm currently stored in Ukraine. Over the summer, when prices are low, the reservoir system is expected to fill to close to its 30 bcm total capacity.

DTEK is ready to “consider the sale of power stations and coal mines” as the company shifts towards green energy,

DTEK CEO Maxim Tymchenko tells Ekonomichna Pravda news site. Ukraine’s largest private electricity producer is positioning itself to meet the EU’s net zero carbon target for 2050. Over the last three years, DTEK has invested $1.5 billion to build 1 GW of wind and solar capacity in Ukraine. In contrast, many of DTEK’s coal-fired power stations are “physically exhausted” and will have to close in the 2020s, Tymchenko says. He adds: “If nobody buys them, then we will close them

Electricity storage for balancing power supplies will be the goal of a $211 million loan

 that Ukraine seeks from the World Bank and the Clean Technology Fund. According to Wednesday’s decision by the Cabinet of Ministers, the money would go for buying and installing 197 lithium-ion energy storage systems near hydroelectric plants operated by Ukrhydroenergo. Ukraine’s power transmission system is ill-equipped to handle the fluctuating electricity flows from wind and solar power plants.

Eight renewable energy producers have won a total of $29 million in judgements in Kyiv’s Economic Court

 against the Guaranteed Buyer, Finbalance reported on Monday. As of mid-May, Ukrenergo, parent company of Guaranteed Buyer, said it still owes $574 million in overdue 2020 payments to wind and solar producers. More bills went unpaid this year. PV Magazine reports that Lithuania’s Modus Group, the owner of three solar plants in Ukraine, is preparing to sue the government for €11.5 million in losses due to last summer’s 15% reduction in solar tariffs.

It costs $1 billion a year to operate Ukraine’s east-west gas transmission system

, Serhiy Makogon, head of the pipeline operating company, writes on Facebook. “The Ukrainian GTS is a very complex, powerful and unique infrastructure that requires significant funds for daily operation,” he writes. Without long-term transit contracts the system becomes economically unviable, he writes. The Russian contract expires in 2024. In the late 2020s, part of the system could be used to transport hydrogen to the EU.

France’s EuroCape inaugurated yesterday the first 80 MW stage of what could be a large scale 500 MW wind farm on the Azov coast of Zaporizhia

, reports the regional government. Noting “10 years of bureaucratic struggle” the report hailed the commissioning of the first 27 wind turbines of a planned number of 167. If completed, the EuroCape project would be the fifth largest onshore wind project in Europe.

Abandoned coal mines across the Donbas are filling with water, threatening drinking water quality on both sides of the separation line

, Veronika Melkozerova reports for NBC News from Toretsk,  in government-controlled Donetsk. As water fills the mines, methane is pushed to the surface triggering explosions, she reports. Of the 121 working mines in the Donbas, 88 are in the Russia-controlled sector, says Ukraine’s Energy Ministry. Over the next 20 years, Ukraine intends to close most of its coalmines, partly with German and Polish aid. Ukrainian experts say the separatists have stopped pumping water from a dozen mines, including Yunkom site

Ukraine is negotiating with investors to build a new oil refinery and will be a partner in the project,

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Presidential Chief of staff, tells Interfax-Ukraine. Ukraine’s only working oil refinery, in Kremenchuk, cannot make up for this month’s shortfall in gasoline imports from Belarus, nor can it meet the government’s increased demand for bitumen for the ‘Big Construction’ road building project. Two months ago, on a visit to Qatar, President Zelenskiy reached preliminary agreements on the construction of new oil and gas terminals in Odesa.

Belarus is cutting its shipments of premium unleaded gasoline by 80% for June,

 Serhii Kuyun, director of the A-95 consulting group, writes on Facebook. Ukraine will get 10,000 tons, instead of the normal 50,000. Ukrainian traders have bought all free gasoline from Lithuania’s Orlen Lietuva, the only refinery in the Baltics, and have contracted gasoline for sea delivery. Drivers can expect price rises at the pumps.

Behind the Belarus cuts are not politics, but domestic needs,

 writes UNIAN. Anna Bredikhina wrote that Russia’s Rosneft and Surgutneftegaz are refusing to supply oil to Naftan, Belarus’ second refinery because of US sanctions that hit Naftan on Thursday. Bredikina writes: “Accordingly, our northern neighbors decided to screw on the tap with fuel for Ukraine in order to meet, first of all, the needs of their country.”

Ukraine’s electricity consumption is forecast to fall by one quarter during the 2020s

, predicts GlobalData, a London-based data provider. During the last decade, electricity consumption fell by 9%, to 127.3 terawatts, GlobalData says. Looking ahead, Pavan Vyakaranam, a GlobalData executive, cited several factors for the big drop in the 2020s: “One of the most prominent is its declining population. A slowdown in the commercial and industrial sectors will continue to impact demand in future.”

Svetlana Zalishchuk, the former journalist and Rada member for the Petro Poroshenko Bloc, has become an international affairs advisor to Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko

. Targeting Nord Stream 2, she told the oil and gas company’s press department: “Ukraine still needs to win its battle against the Russian geopolitical pipeline. We are currently working on several scenarios to stop Nord Stream 2.” In the Rada, Zalishchuk ran the Subcommittee on Euro-Atlantic Cooperation and European Integration.

Yulia Svyridenko, Deputy Presidential Chief of staff,

 has been chosen by the Cabinet of Ministers to represent the government on the Naftogaz Supervisory Board. She succeeds Robert Bensh, a Houston oil and gas executive. At the same Cabinet session, three foreign members were reelected for new, 1-year terms: Clare Spottiswoode (Britain), Bruno Lesqua (France) and Ludo Van der Heyden (Belgium), as well as two Ukrainian state representatives: Natalia Boyko and Yulia Kovaliv.

Oil traders worry that Belarus will cut off supplies of A-95 gasoline to Ukraine this week,

 enkorr, or energy correspondent news site, reports from Kyiv. Belarus supplies half of Ukraine’s needs for this premium unleaded gasoline. “Today we were advised that there would be no supplies of the A-95 at all,” one trader reportedly told enkorr Friday. Referring to a refinery in Mazyr, just north of Ukraine, another trader said: “According to our data, the Mozyr plant is flooded with gasoline.”

Serhii Kuyun, director of the A-95 consulting group, wrote on Facebook Friday that the cut off is starting.

“The worst decision that Belarusians could have taken in the current situation is to close the supply of A-95 gasoline to Ukraine, where their product has 50% of the market,” he wrote, noting that Ukrainian drivers, truckers and farmers need 50,000 tons of this fuel monthly. The uncertain mood is captured in a UNIAN headline: “Fuel lesson from Belarus: should Ukrainian motorists to stock up on gasoline?”

DTEK’s Tiligulska wind power project, with a capacity of 126 MW, is under construction this summer and should produce power next year

, DTEK reports. Located in southwest Mykolaiv, the project is largely financed with money from a green Eurobond that DTEK issued in the fall of 2019. If the government catches up with overdue payments to wind and solar producers, DTEK could proceed with plans to increase the Tiligulska plant 4.5 times, to 564 MW, for a total of $640 million, Maris Kunickis, CEO of DTEK Renewables, said in March 2021.

“US diplomatic signals go unheard in Ukraine,

” headlines an Atlantic Council blog by Oleksiy Honcharuk, President Zelensky’s first Prime Minister. Alarmed over the government’s bypassing of the Naftogaz Supervisory Board to switch CEOs, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken cut his face-to-face meeting with Zelensky on May 5, from one hour to 15 minutes. “This strong signal was backed by equally firm rhetoric identifying domestic corruption alongside Russian aggression as the two key dangers facing today’s Ukraine,” Honcharuk wrote from Washington. “Ukraine’s actions following the Blinken

Wednesday’s decision to ban electricity imports from Russia and Belarus will accelerate Ukraine’s integration with the European ENTSO-E system,

Energy Minister Herman Galushchenko told German Ambassador to Ukraine Anka Feldhusen, the ministry reported yesterday. This synchronization is to take place by the end of 2023. Created in 2008, ENTSO-E, or the European Network of Transmission System Operators, represents 42 electricity transmission system operators from 35 European countries.

Ukraine is banning the import of electricity from Belarus and Russia for four months, until Oct. 1.

“We remember our experience last winter,” Valeriy Tarasiuk, chairman of the National Energy and Utilities Regulatory Commission of Ukraine yesterday told  a public meeting. After power stations ran short of coal, the government imported electricity, first from Belarus in January, then from Russia in February. The move to stop electricity imports started before Belarus forced down the Ryanair passenger jet on Sunday. President Zelensky seeks to make Energoatom, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power producer, profitable. Responsible for producing half of Ukraine’s electricity, Energoatom

Seeing Nord Stream 2 as a serious threat to Naftogaz, Yuriy Vitrenko, the new CEO is shaking up his international strategy team,

 the company has reported. “To find new tools to counter the Nord Stream 2 project,” Vitrenko has hired Myron Wasylyk, former Ukraine director general of PBN Hill + Knowlton Strategies, as an international adviser. An American with Washington experience, Wasylyk has worked for the National Committee of the Republican Party, the State Department, and the US Department of the Environment. To deal with the Rada and government agencies, Vitrenko has Roman Suprun, who has experience in government relations projects.

Responding to the world surge in iron and steel prices, Ukraine’s pig iron production rose 9% to 7.1 million tons

during the first four months of this year, compared to January-April 2020. Ukraine slightly outpace world growth of 8.6% and put Ukraine in 10th place worldwide for iron production, according to the World Steel Association. By contrast, Ukraine’s iron production growth in 2020 was only 1.8% yoy.

Mott MacDonald, the London-based engineering consulting firm, will inspect all seven of the hydroelectric dams of the Dnipro cascade

to check the safety of the Soviet-era locks and dams and the viability of Ukryhdroenergo’s multi-year, $120 million rehabilitation plan, reports the press service of the state hydroelectric company. Mott MacDonald counts as a corporate ancestor a water engineering consultancy that worked on Egypt’s Aswan Dam.

With world iron ore prices double the level of one year ago, President Zelenskiy defended a draft law passed last week to increase taxes on iron ore.

“The price is very high today,” he said at his press conference. “You can slightly increase budget revenues. I think it’s fair.” Moving from a tax of 11-12% of iron ore as it come out of the ground, the new tax scale would range from 0.1% to 16% on iron concentrate and pellets ready for export. Using as a marker China’s price for one ton with 62% iron content, the tax would be 16% for shipments selling at over $180

DTEK officially launched Ukraine’s first industrial lithium-ion energy storage system yesterday, a pioneering entry into what is to be a billion dollar business in Ukraine during this decade.

 Maksym Tymchenko, DTEK’s CEO, said of the 1 MW battery in Zaporizhia: “This is first step toward building a new reliable, flexible energy system in Ukraine. We open door to other actors who will invest more in energy storage systems.” Storage helps power distribution companies balance the peaks and lows of electricity generated from solar and wind plants.

To get there, Ukraine has to develop regulations and laws to accommodate energy storage systems,

Maksym Nemchynov, a deputy energy minister, said. Referring to this legal black hole, he praised DTEK for going ahead, calling it “a brave and risky project.” He and Roman Abramovskiy, minister of Ecology and Natural Resources promised to help create the legal framework for more investments in industrial scale energy storage.

Ukraine will meet the 18-month deadline to synchronize its power system with the EU one

Volodymyr Kudrytskyi, Ukrenergo board chairman, told the battery storage event. The head of Ukraine’s state-owned electricity distribution company, promised: “Synchronization of the Ukrainian energy system with the European one in 2023 will take place. Period.” He said that if Ukraine has more ‘flexibility’ – including industrial energy storage systems – it will allow Ukraine to export more power to the EU.

The Biden Administration is backing off imposing sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its German CEO, Matthias Warnig,

 CNN and Axios have reported from Washington. Seeking to avoid serious damage to the Germany-US relationship, President Biden apparently has decided to sanction Russian ships and subcontractors, the reports say, citing Washington officials. With the 1,230 km long pipeline 95% complete, it seems that the Russia-Germany gas line will be finished this summer – sanctions or no sanctions.

The Baltic Sea pipeline bypasses Ukraine and will concentrate enormous power in Germany as the main distributor of Russian natural gas to the EU

. It will also deprive Ukraine of $1-2 billion in gas transit revenues and remove a brake on Russian behavior. Axios writes: “Bypassing Ukraine with a direct pipeline to Germany is an opportunity for Russia to advance its goal of isolating its former client state, now a fledgling democracy, from Western Europe.”

In a reversal, the 5-member Naftogaz Supervisory Board agreed yesterday to stay on for a one-year term – on the condition that the current Executive Board remains and the roadmap submitted by the Supervisory Board last Friday is respected.

 Clare Spottiswoode, the British energy executive who chairs the Supervisory Board, said yesterday in a video address to the Cabinet of Ministers: “We will carefully consider any good ideas and changes in the implementation of our roadmap proposed to us by the Chairman of the Board [Yuriy Vitrenko].” The Supervisory Board had quit en masse, effective last Friday, in protest over the government’s ‘legal manipulation’ on April 28 to oust Andriy Kobolyev, Naftogaz CEO for seven years.

The Black Sea seismic program is to start this summer and the 4-member Executive Board is to remain in place through the end of this year

, according to a copy of the ‘Joint Roadmap’ obtained by the UBN. At yesterday’s Cabinet meeting Prime Minister Shmygal wrote on Telegram that the government would start an independent search process for a new CEO and Supervisory Board for Naftogaz. It is not known if the search will include Kobolev, a former Naftogaz executive director.

Adrian Karatnycky, wrote

in an Atlantic Council Ukraine blog: “Amid all the rhetorical sturm und drang, it is important for everyone to understand that in appointing Yuri Vitrenko, Ukraine’s government has chosen a strong manager, a reformer with a record of integrity and independence, a negotiator of proven skill, and an executive with a track record of effectively countering Russia’s economic and energy wars against Ukraine.” Karatnycky, a senior fellow at the Council, titled the essay: “Naftogaz drama highlights Ukraine’s politics of personal

Betting on strong Chinese demand for iron, Ferrexpo plans to spend $2 billion in capital investments to double its production of iron pellets by 2030

, reports Interfax-Ukraine. This year, the LSE-listed company is increasing production by 14%, to 12 million tons. A combination of strong Chinese demand and the Biden Administration’s planned infrastructure renewal plan have contributed to a doubling of world iron ore prices over the last year, to $208 a ton yesterday.

Marking Metinvest’s 15th anniversary, company engineers calculate that the company, Ukraine’s largest steel maker, has produced 142 million tons of steel since 2006 – enough steel to build 20,000 Eiffel Towers

. “We are also affectionately called ‘Ukrainian steel giant’ because we are engaged in the extraction of raw materials, steel smelting and the sale of metal products all over the world,” wrote the publicists for Metinvest, 71% of which is owned by Rinat Akhmetov. “And we are the only company with Ukrainian roots that is included in the list of the world’s leading steel producers and iron ore miners.”

DTEK Energy yesterday completed a 14-month restructuring of its loan portfolio, converting current Eurobonds and major bank debt, totaling more than $2 billion, into new Eurobonds;

the company said last night after London markets closed. In an announcement posted on the London Stock Exchange, DTEK said parts of the current debt on DTEK Energy Eurobonds were converted into $425 million worth of DTEK Oil and Gas Eurobonds, at a rate of 6.75% per annum and maturity until Dec. 31, 2026. Other debt was converted into new DTEK Energo Eurobonds at a rate of 7%, maturing Dec. 31, 2027.

“Thus, DTEK Energy’s loans have been transferred to a public financial instrument,”

the press release reads. DTEK CEO Maksym Timchenko said: “Despite the loss of assets in Donbas, the systemic crisis in the Ukrainian electricity market and the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, DTEK Energy has successfully completed the process of restructuring its Eurobonds and its main bank debt in the amount of more than US$2 billion.”

London-based Environmental Resources Management has been chosen by the Energy Ministry to draft a pilot project for finding a new future for a coal-based region.

The pilot project is funded by Britain, a country which has struggled with this challenge since the 1980s. Germany and Poland also are advising Ukraine on the transition. With the number of coal miners dropping, Ukraine’s transition largely has meant miners leaving mining regions for other jobs.

London-based VR Capital’s Elementum Energy has started commercial operation of its €59 million, 40MW wind energy Dnistrovska wind park

, on the Dnister estuary in Odesa region. The 4MW GE turbines are the largest in operation in Ukraine today. Each of the 10 towers rises 131 meters high, about four stories short of Kyiv’s Parus Business Center. Elementum Energy and American developer Ukraine Power Resources are building a second, 60 MW phase of Dnistrovska, which is to be commissioned one year from now.