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Reliability of Ukraine’s GTS and gas storage facilities: the 2024 stress test will be completed by the start of gas injection season

On the initiative of Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy, GTS Operator of Ukraine and one of the Naftogaz Group companies, JSC “Ukrtransgaz,” are preparing to perform a stress test in 2024. Its goal is to confirm the sufficient capacity and reliability of Ukraine’s GTS and underground gas storage facilities amid continuous bombings and cessation of Russian gas transit.

Within the framework of the stress test, a number of possible crisis scenarios will be determined and the risks of potential physical damage to the infrastructure will be assessed with regard to their possible effect on Ukraine’s ability to transport natural gas from Ukrainian gas storages to the EU. Preparation and performance of the stress test envisage four stages. Its outcomes will be published in the back half of April, i.e. at the beginning of the injection season.

As Ukraine’s Minister of Energy German Galushchenko has repeatedly noted, storage of gas in Ukraine’s UGS by foreign traders became possible particularly due to the performance in 2023 of a stress test of the country’s GTS and UGS initiated by the Ministry of Energy together with its partners. The stress test confirmed that the gas transportation system could operate amid military challenges and under zero transit conditions. Certification of gas storage facilities in accordance with European standards became an important factor, too.

“This not only increased the partners’ trust, but also ensured mutually beneficial cooperation, which strengthened Ukraine’s energy security and that of the entire European continent,” Minister noted.

“This winter, we confirmed the conclusions of last year’s stress test in practice: European gas is securely stored in Ukraine and transported to customers. This is the result of coordinated efforts by the GTS and UGS operators. Passing this year’s stress test will send a clear message to our partners – European gas traders – that, like last year, one can safely book our infrastructure’s capacities for gas transportation and storage in Ukraine. On the one hand, this is our country’s contribution to European energy security, while on the other it means support for Ukraine’s domestic economy and additional revenues to the state budget,” GTSOU’s General Director Dmytro Lyppa emphasised.

“Preparations have already started. This is indeed important because it helps encourage our partners to store more gas in our facilities. The preparation and performance of the stress test will take place in four stages. The outcomes will be published before the start of the injection season – in the back half of April. We thank the Ministry of Energy, the Ukrtransgaz team, as well as our partners who made the performance of these tests possible,” Oleksiy Chernyshov, CEO of the Naftogaz Group, said.

In 2023, the traders’ interest in using Ukraine’s GTS and UGS significantly increased: in the course of the year, the total volume of gas injected into Ukraine’s underground storages was four times bigger than in 2022.

This year’s stress testing of gas infrastructure will be modelled and performed by a working group comprising and supported by USAID Energy Security Project, Energy Community Secretariat, European Commission’s Directorate General “Joint Research Center,” international technical experts as well as GTSOU, NJSC “Naftogaz of Ukraine” and Ukrtransgaz, respectively.