KIEV, July 8 (Reuters) - Ukraine, which wants to stockpile at least 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas for the 2019/20 heating season, had reserves of almost 14 bcm as of July 6, state gas transport company Ukrtransgaz said on Monday.
Ukraine had stored around 11.5 bcm of gas at the same time last year.
The head of state-run energy firm 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 it imported. For the heating season that ran 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. Kiev’s relations with Moscow soured after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Kiev now imports from Europe. (Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)