13 Nov 2023 16:25

Naftogaz of Ukraine staff to double by year-end

MOSCOW. Nov 13 (Interfax) - The number of Naftogaz Group employees will more than doubled by the end of 2023, from 45,000 to 100,000, due to additional enterprises' integration into it, Naftogaz CEO Alexei Chernyshov said.

"There were 45,000 employees a year ago. We will have more than 100,000 employees before the end of the year. It is a very large increase for any organization. It will take place due to the integration of additional enterprises and operations that ensure a stable supply of energy. This includes regional gas companies, which will be fully integrated by the end of the year. The system is becoming more stable and reliable," Ukrainian media quoted Chernyshov as saying at a forum in Kiev on Saturday.

Naftogaz is also well aware of the fact that it is becoming a bigger monopolist than it used to be, he said.

"But I am a supporter of fairly limited growth for Nafrofaz, and I'll be very pleased when we're be able to offer some of the non-strategic companies for privatization," Chernyshov said.

More than 19 billion cubic meters of gas have already been accumulated in Ukraine's underground storage facilities, while Ukrainian gas production has grown by 7%, which is a very good result, especially amid the crisis, Chernyshov said.

"This has made it possible to practically enter the winter without gas imports. I'm glad that we will get through this winter using Ukrainian gas alone," he said.

The amount of non-residents' gas kept in Ukraine's underground gas storage facilities (USFs) stands at around 2.5 bcm, Chernyshov said, stressing that they are storing the resource without any guarantees. Although gas withdrawal has already begun recently due to an increase in consumption because of colder weather, non-residents are continuing to pump relatively small amounts of gas into Ukraine's USFs.

Chernyshov also welcomed the European Commission's recommendation contained in last week's Ukraine review concerning the abolition of public service obligations as early as 2024, and expressed confidence that the government would cope with this task. At the same time, reforms should be accompanied by the protection of vulnerable consumers, he said.

At the same time, Chernyshov said it was unlikely that Naftogaz would receive compensation for the costs related to the implementation of public service obligations.

"Bearing in mind the Ukrainian budget's financing needs in 2024, the probability that it will happen is not high," he said.

As reported, Naftogaz of Ukraine plans to complete the consolidation of the gas distribution system operators previously controlled by Dmitry Firtash's Regional Gas Company before the end of 2023.

A court transferred seized corporate rights to 26 regional and city gas distribution system operators to the National Agency for Recovery and Management of Assets at the end of May 2022, following a request by the State Bureau of Investigation.

Naftogaz registered Gas Distribution Networks of Ukraine LLC (Gazseti) on September 2, 2022. Its main field of its activity is specified as gas distribution through local pipelines.

Gazseti's 14 branches supplied gas to 6.6 million consumers as of early October 2023.