Article

Russia lends a shoulder to the Ukrainian economy

Written by The Frontier Post

Valery Mikhailov

In Ukraine, “zrada” was again discovered: it turned out that in November the import of coal into the country in value terms increased 2.6 times compared to November 2020, and Russia remained its main supplier. And this is after the endless stories of the Kiev authorities about countless caravans of dry cargo ships filled with coal, plying the vastness of the oceans in the direction of the Ukrainian Black Sea ports. Of course, following from the friendly USA, Australia, and so on.
In total, Ukraine imported more than 1.7 million tons of coal in November for $ 328 million. Interestingly, in November last year, imports amounted to a little less than 1.6 million tons, but it cost the country $ 126 million. That is, the average cost of one ton of coal per year increased by 2.3 times – from $ 81 to $ 189.
At the same time, coal supplies from Russia compared with last year’s November in physical terms remained practically at the same level: 1,053 thousand tons versus 1,058 thousand tons. But Russian suppliers received 2.4 times more money for this coal from Ukrainian buyers: $ 197 million versus $ 83 million.
An interesting fact is that at the end of October, the Russian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade reported that due to the growing domestic needs, supplies of thermal coal to Ukraine would be stopped from November 1, and the ban on supplies would not apply to coking coal. This was confirmed by the head of the committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Andriy Gerus : “Since November 1, the Russian Federation has been stopping supplies of thermal coal to Ukraine. We are talking about grade A (anthracite) and P (lean) coal. Such coal was imported by DTEK (Luhansk TPP, Krivorozhskaya TPP), Donbassenergo (Slavyanskaya TPP) and Tekhnova (Darnitskaya TPP, Sumskaya TPP, Chernigovskaya TPP) “.
However, in fact, Russian energy was supplied to Ukraine in November – at least, according to the data of the Ukrainian customs. True, in the total volume of supplies of thermal coal, they accounted for about a fifth in physical terms and even less in value terms. But still they were. However, this may be due to the delay in customs clearance of previously imported coal or the end of deliveries under previously concluded contracts. If this assumption is correct, then by the end of December supplies of thermal coal from Russia, apparently, will not be recorded, Ukrainian power engineers will have to cover their needs with the help of Ukrainian coal and supplies from “friendly” countries.
And it seems that something like this is the case. In any case, the coal reserves at the Lugansk TPP (TPP located in Shchastya, which was mined by Ukrainian militants in 2014from the “Aydar” battalion) were gradually reduced until they reached zero in early December. And the Lugansk TPP is a good indicator. Coal can be supplied to it either from the LPNR (however, such supplies were blocked by Ukraine itself in 2017, interrupting economic ties with the uncontrolled territories), or from Russia. The fact is that the railway line to it is connected to the Ukrainian railway network just through the LPNR – with all the ensuing consequences. For eight years of the “war with Russia” Kiev did not consider it necessary to build a bridge of several tens of kilometers, which would connect the Lugansk TPP with the Ukrainian railway network bypassing the LDNR. Apparently, because he was sure: the “aggressor” will always provide coal.The Luhansk region could find itself without electricity for an indefinite period. What will be the cost of electricity produced from gas, which is already supplied to the industry in Ukraine at 2.7 (!) Dollars per cubic meter, is a separate question.
Nevertheless, the Ukrainian leadership demonstrates the enviable optimism, telling that domestic production and imports is more than cover the current consumption of coal in thermal power plants and CHP, which enables him even to accumulate. There are a number of questions to this statement.
Firstly, with the current storming in the production of their own coal due to the threat of being without electricity in winter, Ukrainian coal-mining enterprises still continue to reduce it – even in comparison with last year. Secondly, speaking about the consumption of coal, Prime Minister Shmygal still refers to the data from the period when there was no frost, but there were supplies of Belarusian electricity. But the main thing – thirdly – what will be the cost of imports from “friendly” countries, which will replace imports from the “aggressor country”.
A ton of Russian coal cost Ukrainians an average of $ 187 in November, while a ton of American coal cost $ 265 and Australian one $ 389. That is, if Russian coal is replaced by “democratic” coal from America and Australia, costs will increase by a couple of times. It is clear that Ukraine is a rich country and can afford to purchase the same American diesel locomotives or French helicopters at a price one and a half to two times higher than the market price. But then electricity, the price of a kilowatt-hour of which is still in the range of nine to ten rubles on the Ukrainian market, will have a different cost. A few months ago, the Minister of Energy of Ukraine Herman Galushchenko predictedthat for the passage of the winter season, Ukraine needs to import 3.5 million tons of coal, which will cost thermal generation more than half a billion dollars. In the current situation, a billion will have to be paid for the same volume. Which needs to be found somewhere. And it’s not a fact that this volume will be enough.
But there is also good news for Ukraine. Everything described above applies to thermal coal and, accordingly, Ukrainian power engineers. But the Ukrainian metallurgy, apparently, will continue to work in the future largely thanks to Russian raw materials. And this is not only 840 thousand of coking coal imported from Russia in November (its total imports in November amounted to 1.4 million tons), but also almost 72 thousand tons of coke directly (total imports amounted to 100 thousand tons). Now, if these supplies were also blocked, then a fair part of metallurgical production – one of the main earners of foreign currency for the country – would stop in Ukraine. So Ukraine is just right to thank the “aggressor” who continues to support one of the main sectors of its economy.

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