Ukraine Abandons Plan To Attach National Pipeline Company To Energy Ministry

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By Zainab Calcuttawala, Oilprice.com

The Ukrainian government reversed a previous decision to bring the nation’s natural gas transport company under the direct control of the Energy Ministry.

Deputy Prime Minister and Economy Minister Stepan Kubiv said he will not carry out plans to detach Ukrtransgaz from the government-run gas company Naftogaz, according to reports on Monday.

The government announced the coming change in Ukrtransgaz’s oversight nine days after senior-level officials had made the decision. It drew massive criticism from the citizenry in light of the way pre-2014 government officials despoiled national gas companies for their wealth.

Intellinews attributed the reversal to pressure exerted by Ukraine’s Western creditors, who considered the “power grab” as a deviation from agreed-upon conditions that led to the establishment of credit lines for much-needed natural gas supplies in the wintertime.

Specifically, the move would have violated the terms of Kiev’s $300 million loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

“I am ready to admit, that in making the decision we did not undertake proper consultations – this is a technical, and in some respects, political moment. In connection with this, my decision as a minister [from Sept. 7] has been suspended,” Kubiv said in a statement.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently decided to resume its payments to the Ukrainian government for a $17.5 billion loan it granted to the country in exchange for large-scale economic and political reforms.

Overshadowed by events in Syria, the situation in Ukraine remains less than pleasant. The Ukrainian hryvnia continues to flounder, the nation’s inflation rate is second worst globally ahead of only Venezuela, and middling growth projections provide little hope for a nation whose GDP contracted nearly 10 percent last year. Further, fighting has intensified on the outskirts of Donetsk in recent weeks, culminating in the capture of a United Nations’ monitoring officer.

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