European countries are now trying to get rid of their dependence on Russian gas. They are thus reacting to the Russian attack on Ukraine and the subsequent restriction of Russian gas supplies to Europe.
According to Vitrenko, Naftogaz could replace the missing Russian gas if it gets investment and know-how from Western experts, for example through a similar US Marshall Plan that helped rebuild Western Europe after World War II.
“We are working on new projects that can really significantly increase production in Ukraine by ten to 30 percent,” said Vitrenko.
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The war in Ukraine
However, some experts point out that the country has been unsuccessfully trying to increase production for many years. In addition, supplies to Europe would require the Ukrainian government to lift the wartime embargo on gas exports.
The situation is also complicated by the fact that Naftogaz recently became insolvent.
Vitrenko also said that Naftogaz is researching technologies for extracting gas from shale deposits.
However, analyst Maksym Biljavskyi, who was a spokesman for Naftogaz in the past, pointed out that the most promising areas for shale drilling are located in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas, where fighting is now taking place.
“There are good prospects, but for a period of peace,” Biljavskyj said. He added that roughly 75 percent of Ukraine’s gas production facilities are located on or near the front line.
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Vitrenko also said that Ukraine should convert its entire district heating system from gas to biomass and heat pumps and use gas only as a backup.
However, Biljavskyj described such a large-scale transition to biomass as unrealistic, as it would require a large amount of plant material to produce energy and large-scale investments.