For natural gas to burn reliably under the consumer’s kettle from the first movement of a match, it requires the daily work of thousands of people who search for, extract, import, transport, and deliver gas.
What is the path of gas to the kitchens or boilers of Ukrainians?
How the gas gets to it’s consumers
Ukraine uses about 30 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually. 65-70% of the country covers its needs with gas, but the rest of the gas has to be imported from Europe.
However, no matter where the suppliers get gas for their customers, they will have to go through the gas transmission system (GTS) of Ukraine and gas distribution networks to reach the end consumer.
Initially, the gas (extracted or imported) enters the gas transmission system: The GTS operator must check its quality and transport it, depending on the order of the owner, to the destination – underground storage facilities or to regional gas networks. At the point of exit from the system, the GTS Operator checks the quality of the gas again and transmits it to the regional gas company.
In turn, the regional gas company distributes gas through gas distribution networks to the final consumer.
Gas production in Ukraine is carried out by state and private companies. Moreover, private mining companies may have not only Ukrainian, but also foreign shareholders. Produced gas is purchased by wholesalers (traders), who resell it to consumers later.
The two regions – the Kharkiv and Poltava regions, located in the eastern gas and oil-bearing region – are currently the richest in gas in Ukraine. Kharkiv region provides 46% of all-natural gas in Ukraine, and Poltava – 42%. The rest of the production volume is concentrated in the western and eastern regions.
To extract this gas, producers obtained subsoil use licenses, conducted geological exploration, analyzed seismic data, drilled wells (first – explorational, then – operational), and created ground infrastructure that connects the well to the gas transmission network.
Approximately 50 million cubic meters of gas that enters the GTS are extracted daily in Ukraine. Because consumption varies with the season and the weather, not all of this gas is consumed at once. Part of it enters underground gas storage facilities (GSF) and rises if it is needed for consumers, for example, in winter.
Since, as already mentioned, proprietary gas production does not cover all the needs of Ukrainian consumers, it is necessary to import it from abroad. This is also done by wholesalers who buy and import gas to Ukraine.
Until 2015, the main source of natural gas import for Ukraine was the Russian Federation through the state monopolist – Gazprom. However, thanks to the implementation of European rules of trade in the Ukrainian gas market, it was possible to unblock the import of gas from Ukraine, Poland, and Slovakia. According to the GTS Operator, the import of natural gas from European countries amounted to almost 16 billion cubic meters in 2020.
So, in order to get to the consumer, gas goes through a long way: it is extracted through thousands of wells or imported from other countries, enters the GTS, and then – to the gas distribution networks. And actually gas enters the homes of consumers through the pipes.