Norway has signed an agreement to assist Ukraine in financing gas purchases to help the war-torn country through the coming winter.

Ukraine has gained direct access to Norwegian natural gas supplies since the inauguration of the Baltic Pipe in September but financing future gas acquisition is a challenge, given how much the war has cost to date.

The Baltic Pipe connects the older Europipe II pipeline, which crosses the North Sea between Norway and Germany, with Poland.

An initial NOK 2 billion ($195 million) in funding will be made available through the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development and will aim to bolster Ukraine’s gas procurement this winter, according to a joint ministerial statement signed by Norwegian Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum and Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.

Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in late February, Norway has become the second largest donor to the European Bank’s dedicated fund for reconstruction development works in Ukraine.

“As winter approaches in earnest in Ukraine, Russia has been using energy as a weapon and has been targeting critical infrastructure in an attempt to crush Ukraine’s resistance,” said Huitfeldt.

“Russia’s actions are serious violations of international law and are causing severe hardship for the people of Ukraine. Norwegian support to secure energy supplies is therefore vitally important for Ukraine.”

In July, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store said that the Norwegian government would be allocating a total of NOK 10 billion to Ukraine from 2022 to 2023. Of this, NOK 2 billion has been “earmarked” for gas procurement, according to the ministry.

Gateway to Norway

The pipeline’s direct link between Poland and Norway became operational on 1 October with a capacity of 10 billion cubic metres per annum, helping to ameliorate traditional Eastern Europe reliance on Russian pipeline gas supplies.

New era: Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (left), Denmark’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda inaugurate the Baltic Pipe in Poland. Photo: AFP/SCANPIX

Ukraine’s state gas transmission authority Operator GTS Ukrainy said in an earlier statement that it “is constantly expanding co-op Operator GTS Ukrainy said in an earlier statement that it “is constantly expanding co-operation with strategic partners to diversify the sources and routes of natural gas supply to Ukraine. During the year, the company doubled its import capacity from 27 million cubic metres per day to 54 million cubic metres per day”.

Currently, Ukraine has the opportunity to buy liquefied gas from Norway, the US, and Qatar, regasify it at liquefied natural gasterminals in Poland and Lithuania, and transport it to Ukraine.

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