Реформа энергетического комплекса на Украинеenglish
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Energorynok, that got the role of state owned electricity wholesaler and overseeer of the electricity market, profited from the new arrangement.
The ban on barter hit the energy traders who based their shadowy profitable deals on barter trade. Many members of parliament derived profits from energy trade and energy traders financed the re-election of president Leonid Kuchma. Therefore the energy reforms were under continuous attack and reform efforts were undermined by the state bureaucracy and parliament. Moreover, the judiciary failed to tackle corruption in the energy sector. Yulia Timoshenko complained that the general prosecutor failed to instigate criminal proceedings against embezzlement in the energy sector.[lii]
Generally, the situation in the energy sector continued to deteriorate, owing to insufficient liquidity and political disagreement. In autumn 2000, Ukrainian government had to resort to external borrowing to secure energy supplies. 100 million dollars was provided by the EBRD for the purchase of fossil fuels, while 300 million dollars was provided by the bank Credit Suisse First Boston. [liii] Total debts of the fuel and energy sector increased during the first 9 months of 2000 by 1.1 billion hryvnas and totalled 13.6 billion hryvnas in October 2000. [liv]
Power outages are occurring more frequently, often blamed on bad weather. Large part of customers in Ukraine is regularly disconnected from the energy supply.
Although Timoshenko urges for enhancement of payment discipline, she said that she would not allow electricity cut offs to the population.[lv] This may be related to the fact that households are not the worst offenders with respect to non-payments of energy. Nevertheless electricity cut offs occurred, for example in Kharkiv.
Also, 42 per cent of energy indebted enterprises continued to function.[lvi]
The position of the thermal power stations worsened as they were forced to pay more for coal deliveries. As a result, their payments for gas deliveries worsened. In September, Itera told that thermal power stations paid for only 27.4 per cent of the gas supplied.[lvii]
Nevertheless, Timoshenko claims that, due to more cash payments. 178 million dollars has been paid for fresh fuel for nuclear power stations, and half of the gas debt for Turkmenistan has been paid while the debt to Itera has been slashed by more than 40 per cent.[lviii]
Although the energy reform was half hearted and obstructed by many in the energy sector, oligarchs who made their fortunes with energy trade felt threatened and tried to undermine the position of the Yushchenko government and more in particular Yulia Timoshenko. Her husband has been arrested, being accused of embezzlement. Also, the Russian prosecutor opened a case against her involving bribes in dealing with Russian officials. This is noticeable as it happens so many years after the assumed bribing took place (1996). Some argue that Russia is not interested in energy reforms and market oriented reforms in Ukraine as this may allow Ukraine to turn to the West. The argument is that Russia can better deal with a non-reformed Ukraine.
The attempts to reform the energy sector show how deeply rooted vested interests are that profited from the non-reformed energy sector, based on barter trade.
5. Energy imports
During the 1990s, on average half of domestically consumed energy was imported and between 35 and 50 per cent of imports consisted of energy, mainly delivered by Russia.
During 1991-1994, Ukraine had great difficulties in paying for delivered oil and gas and Ukraine accumulated debts with Russia despite the fact that Russia continued to deliver gas and oil below world market prices and on favourable conditions. Nevertheless, Russia tried to use its leverage and linked energy deliveries to political demands, especially during 1993-1994 when interruptions of energy deliveries led to closures of enterprises and schools. October 1993, the energy crisis had forced the closure of half of Kyiv's industrial enterprises. Through the winter of 1993-4, most public buildings were not heated, most streetlights were turned out and Ukrainian television began operating on a reduced schedule in order to conserve energy. [lix]
In the early 1990s, Ukrainian government put priority in developing coal mining and nuclear power in order to diminish energy dependence.
Ukrainians decided not to give in to Russia's demands and refused, among others, the hand over of a majority stake in the transit gas pipeline. From mid 1994 the situation began to stabilise and Western lending to Ukraine helped Ukraine in paying its energy bill. Especially the USA realised that Ukrainian independence was at stake. In the meantime, Russia enhanced further the price of delivered gas. The average price of Russian gas increased from 45.2 dollars per 1000 cubic metres in 1993 to 80 dollars per 1000 cubic metres in 1996.
Ukraine did not react by reforming the energy sector and despite Western assistance, difficulties arose around securing energy supplies from Russia, although Russia was pressed by the West to be lenient towards Ukraine. Russia accepted barter arrangements that were not always favourable for Russia.
Gazprom accepted in 1994 and 1995 settlement of gas debts worth 1.4 million dollars with the delivery of paper.[lx] Later, gas was delivered in exchange for eleven strategic bombers and food. Payment arrears were accepted.
The fee Russia paid for the transit of Russian gas had declined since 1996 to offset a drop in gas import prices.[lxi] Ukrainian service surplus in 1999 had fallen by more than 50 per cent since 1996.
Since the advent of president Vladimir Putin, in December 1999, Russia became less lenient towards Ukraine and demanded higher prices for delivered gas. Prompt cash payment was expected. Also, a value added tax was levied on the export of oil and gas (a 30 per cent excise duty on gas, per 1 June 2000). Russia protested against the unauthorised siphoning of gas. Russian vice prime minister Viktor Khryshenko complained about the fact that 'Russia practically subsidises Ukrainian industry'.[lxii]
According to media reports in March 2000, Russia proposed in the negotiations about settling the outstanding gas debts, to offset debts with stakes in strategic Ukrainian enterprises. According to the Eastern Economist, Russian vice prime minister Kasyanov handed over a list with Ukrainian enterprises.[lxiii] In December 2000, this issue surfaced again.
It became more difficult to negotiate a settlement about gas deliveries with Russia. The main negotiator in 2000 was Yulia Timoshenko. United Energy Systems, that she headed in 1995-97, had an outstanding debt with Gazprom worth 334 million dollars. As a minister, Timoshenko tried to settle this debt.
From 1999 onwards, Ukraine siphoned of large quantities of gas destined for Central, Western Europe and Turkey. According to President Kuchma, during the first nine months of 2000, 700 million m3 have been stolen [lxiv] It caused great problems. Altogether, for 1.4 billion dollars worth of gas was siphoned of in 1999.
For example, in 1999, Turkey got 40 per cent less gas from Russia than foreseen. Three big power stations had to stop working and big industrial enterprises had to interrupt production. Turkey protested with the Ukrainian government.[lxv]
At the same time, Ukraine continued to re-export gas. In 1999, 8.5 of Ukraine's exports consisted of fuels. Ukraine Russia protested against this re-export (17 November 2000).
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