Ukraine PM eyes 14.7 bcm of gas in storage for new heating season

Ukraine Prime Minister Shmyhal at a news conference at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington

KYIV (Reuters) - Ukraine has 9.3 billion cubic meters of natural gas in storage and plans to accumulate 14.7 bcm by the start of the new heating season, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said on Tuesday.

Shmyhal said the government was already preparing for the next heating season, understanding it will be no easier than the previous season when Russia hit Ukraine's power infrastructure with missiles and drones.

"Among the priorities is to accumulate a sufficient amount of energy resources, as we did last year," Shmyhal told a government meeting. "Currently, gas reserves are at the level of 9.3 bcm, for the start of the autumn-winter season we should reach 14.7 bcm. We are increasing our own production, working with partners to obtain additional resources."

Shmyhal said the government was now focusing on a 'colossal' amount of repairs to prepare energy infrastructure for the season, and was also implementing measures to defend energy facilities from potential air strikes.

Government officials have previously said that about 40% percent of the country's energy sector was damaged by Russian shelling.

(Reporting by Olena Harmash, Editing by Timothy Heritage)