Ukraine-EU Gas Market Integration: Short-Term Progress, Long-Term Challenges
In 2020–21, Ukrainian gas storage facilities played a notable role in balancing the market in Central and Eastern Europe. Through the summer of 2020, European traders placed gas in Ukrainian storage as facilities elsewhere in Europe reached full capacity. In the winter of 2020/21, it was expected that this gas would be re-exported to Central Europe. However, in a sign of Ukraine’s increasing integration into the broader European gas market, most of the volumes withdrawn from storage were actually sold into the Ukrainian market. Given the ongoing, long-term decline of Russian gas transit via Ukraine, the storage and trading of gas in Ukraine offers new business opportunities for all market participants, including the Ukrainian TSO (GTSOU), storage system operator (Ukrtransgaz), and a variety of Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian traders. While the exceptionally wide seasonal spreads of 2020–21 – and associated storage injections – are unlikely to be repeated regularly, the experience of 2020–21 suggests that Ukraine is making progress in integrating its market with those of its western neighbours.