KIEV, Aug 19 (Reuters) - Ukraine, which wants to stockpile at least 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas for the 2019/20 heating season, had reserves of 17.2 bcm by Aug. 17, gas transport company Ukrtransgaz said on Monday.
Ukraine had stored 13.9 bcm of gas by the same time last year.
The head of state energy company Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolev, has said that Ukraine needs to increase its gas reserves by 18% this year to cover its winter needs and to guarantee transit to European consumers.
The country consumed 32.3 bcm of gas in 2018, 10.6 bcm of which was imported. For the heating season from mid-October to April it stored 16.9 bcm of gas.
Ukraine used to meet its gas needs with imports from Russia but has not bought Russian gas directly since November 2015 after Kiev’s relations with Moscow soured over Russia’s annexation of Crimea the previous year.
Kiev now imports from Europe. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Susan Fenton)