- Overseas Private Investment Corporation has approved $400 million in loans and insurance for a massive wind farm for the shore of the Sea of Azov. The U.S. government agency’s board voted Thursday for what is to be to a 500 MW, $560 million wind farm developed by EuroCape Ukraine in collaboration with General Electric, supplier of 62 wind turbines. Designed to be one of Europe’s largest wind farms, EuroCape will increase Ukraine’s wind energy capacity by 40 percent.
- The firsts load of US-produced LNG has made it Ukraine, via Poland, through a deal brokered by ERU Trading LLC, Kyiv-based subsidiary of ERU Corporation USA. ERU, which negotiated a 20-year political risk insurance contract from OPIC last April, has placed the gas in underground storage in Ukraine. Dale Perry, an American who is president of ERU Corporation, said on the company website: “We are proud in our work with our Polish strategic partner to have made the historic, first shipment of LNG to Ukraine.”
- USAID is preparing a $90 million multi-faceted energy program for Ukraine, according to Olga Belkova, member of the Rada’s Energy Committee. The project will focus on: introducing competition in energy markets, identifying new incentives for renewable energy, advising city governments, building cybersecurity, establishing an energy market regulator, creating market transparency, offering new models of managing the gas transmission system, and integrating Ukraine with EU energy markets.
- Ukraine’s steel output is to fall 12% this year, to 21.3 million tons, due to loss of capacity in the East and a lack of raw materials, says Ukraine’s steel producers’ union Ukrmetallurgprom. Rolled steel could fall 14%, to 18.5 million tons. Pig iron could fall 15%, to 20 million tons.
- Ukraine’s trade with Russia and with the EU jumped by the same amount – 26% -- through November, compared to the same period last year, the State Statistics Service reports. The most dynamic changes were: imports from Russia, up by 36.5% -- to $ 5.5 billion; and exports to the EU, up 30% -- to $534 million.
- Ukraine’s oil imports increased by 6.7% in volume and by 28.5% in monetary terms through November. About three quarters of the imports -- $2.8 billion worth – came from Russia and Belarus. With a low level of domestic production, Belarus is a major transit country for oil from Russia.
- Ukraine nearly doubled coal imports through November in monetary terms, importing $2.4 billion, the State Statistics Service reports. As with oil, the lion’s share -- 56% -- comes from Russia. Ukraine was self-sufficient in coal until the separatist conflict in the East broke out in 2914.
- Addressing a major stumbling block with the IMF and EU, President Poroshenko promised Friday to submit a draft law for an anti-corruption court next week – if lawmakers first revoke their version. Timothy Ash writes: “Let's see what this means in practice, and what is Poroshenko's new game plan: is he serious enough to try and get IMF lending back on track?”
- Perfectial, a Lviv-based custom software development company, is expanding to Ivano Frankivsk, opening a new development office, occupying a full floor in a downtown office building. Two weeks ago, KPMG cited Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk as the most attractive destinations [for outsourcing} given availability and low cost of the qualified labor force, existence of developed infrastructure, real estate market and convenient geographical position.
- Ukrzaliznytsia plans to allocate nearly $1 billion for capital investments next year, Evgeny Kravtsov, acting head of the state railway, said. About one third of this money will go to modernizing and rebuilding rail infrastructure. Ukrainian Railways is the nation’s main carrier of cargo and passengers, accounting for 82% of total cargo traffic (excluding pipelines) and 36% of passenger traffic. The railroad has almost 20,000 km of tracks. Almost half of the lines are electrified.
- Russia responded dismissively to a suggestion by Ukraine’s Infrastructure Minister Volodymyr Omelyan to end passenger rail trains between Ukraine and Russia. Mixing his metaphors, Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chair of the Federation Council committee on international affairs, said: “They are cutting off their nose to spite their face. This railway is used mostly by the Ukrainians, who travel to Russia for work or to visit relatives. They are sawing off the branch they are sitting on.”
- Dnipro is to receive EUR10 million in loans from the EBRD next year to purchase 50 new electric trams. The new, low riding, air conditioned trams are to complete a citywide renovation of the fleet which started last year with the purchase of 52 trams. Ukraine’s fourth largest city, Dnipro has 13 tram lines.
- Ukravtodor, the State Highway Agency, conducted tenders worth $2 billion for road work in 2017, the agency head, Slawomir Nowak told reporters Friday. He estimated the agency saved $93 million by placing the tenders on the ProZorro electronic bidding system.
- Turkish company Onur will take over from a Ukrainian company reconstruction of the 90 km section of the Kyiv-Odesa highway from Kyiv to Bila Tserkva, Ukrainian infrastructure minister Volodymyr Omelyan. The Ukrainian company, Altcom, misses deadlines, he said. "In terms of quality, the difference is immediately visible: where the Turkish company works, normal European quality is absolutely visible, where we work with Altcom, we have questions," he said. “I'm tired of listening for the third consecutive year about the problems."
- SkyUp, Ukraine’s new low cost carrier, plans to carry 650,000 passengers in 2018, founder Yuriy Alba tells journalists. In addition to opening domestic flights between Odesa and Lviv and Kharkiv, Alba plans to fly from Kyiv’s two airports to 16 international vacation destinations including: Barcelona, Dubai, Hurghada, Larnaca, Sharm el Sheikh, Tenerife Sur, Varna. Alba, owner tour operator JoinUp!, said his new airline will starting service in April and will also fly to resorts in Albania, Italy and Turkey.
- Kyiv Zhuliany, Ukraine’s second busiest airport, aims to grow 30% in 2018, carrying 2.5 million passengers. Zhuliany expects to finish this year near the 1.9 million mark, a nearly two thirds jump over 2016, Oleksiy Yakovets, director general of Master-Avia, the airport operator, told journalists.
- Flights between Kyiv and Tashkent, Uzbekistan are to resume next year, restoring service suspended in 2015 after Russia’s attacks on Ukraine. Representatives of Uzbekistan Airways and Ukrainian International Airways met last week in Tashkent and agreed to restore the twice weekly flights. Currently, the only flights from Ukraine to Central Asia are to Kazakhstan. Air Astana and Ukrainian International Airlines have flights from Boryspil to Astana and Almaty.
- Blue Air, Romania’s biggest airline, will start flights in March between Lviv and Brno, Czech’s second largest city and historical capital of Moravia. At present, Czech Airlines offers flights from Odesa to Prague and from Kyiv Boryspil to Prague and to Košice, the second largest city in Slovakia.
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UBJ a.m. is reported by UBJ Editor in Chief James Brooke, a former New York Times foreign correspondent and Bloomberg Moscow bureau chief. For comments and story tips, Brooke is reachable at firstname.lastname@example.org