Ukraine has accumulated 15.9 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in storage as of July 31, up from 12.8 bcm at the same time last year, Ukrainian state energy firm Naftogaz said on Friday.It said the country added 2.3 bcm in July and aimed to stockpile a total of 20 bcm by mid-October, when the 2019/20 heating season starts, report agencies. Ukraine last year stored 16.9 bcm of gas for the 2018/19 heating season that ended in April. Naftogaz said the country would need to store more gas to avoid a shortage this winter.
Its 10-year contracts with Russian giant Gazprom for gas supply and transit expire at the end of the year, but negotiations about further deals have not yet started. Kiev's relations with Moscow soured over Russia's annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the Kremlin's support of separatists in eastern Ukraine. Gazprom and Naftogaz have also become mired in numerous court battles over supply and transit terms. Ukraine consumed 32.3 bcm of gas in 2018, 10.6 bcm of which was imported from European markets outside Russia.