Ukraine is refusing to create a natural gas reserve, which was usually formed to ensure the stability of gas supplies to the EU, Kommersant-Ukraine wrote on Friday.

According to the publication, on April 26, Ukrtransgaz reported that this year it would pump 17-18 billion cubic meters of natural gas into underground storage facilities, instead of the usual 22-25 billion cubic meters, UKRINFORM reports.

In fact, the reserves of natural gas should currently be created by Gazprom or the EU, and Naftogaz may earn about USD 300-400 million a year on its storage. However, this decision could worsen Ukraine's relations with Gazprom and European consumers, experts believe.

The head of the department for scientific and technological activities and external relations at Ukrtransgaz, Roman Shymko, said that in 2012 the company will pump into underground gas storage facilities only the amount that is sufficient for Ukraine for the heating season.

Naftogaz of Ukraine is not commenting on this information. However, a senior source in the department of the oil, gas and petrochemical industry at the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry told Kommersant-Ukraine that the decision to reduce the accumulation of gas in underground storage facilities was connected with Naftogaz's intention to get from Gazprom and European consumers the payment for the storage in winter of the necessary amount of gas in Ukrainian storage facilities.

"Every year Ukraine spends a lot of money on the purchase of gas from Gazprom in summer. We raise large loans for this goal and pay interest. As a result , in winter Gazprom uses this gas to provide EU countries with volumes higher than envisaged in contracts in case of a sudden cold snap, selling it at a very high price. As a result of this, we not only do not win, but also lose on interest rates on bank loans," the source said.

In February 2012, in connection with a record decline in temperatures in Europe, Gazprom daily supplied to the EU only 300 million cubic meters of natural gas, and Ukraine, at the request of the Russian monopoly and European gas customers, sent 500 million cubic meters of gas per day from its underground storage facilities. "We, in fact, have saved Europe from the cold because of the gas that we pumped into underground storage facilities last summer at our own expense. Gazprom sold it 40% more expensive than usual amounts, and we, instead of cash compensation, received a portion of offensive accusations - that Ukraine allegedly steals gas and undersupplies it to Europe," a newspaper source in the Energy and Coal Industry Ministry said. He said that from now on Gazprom and the EU would have to pump gas into Ukrainian underground storage facilities individually and pay for its storage.

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