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Ukraine's Naftogaz reports 53% rise in Jan–Sept gas imports

KIEV (Reuters) — Naftogaz imported 7.1 Bcm of natural gas imports in the first nine months of this year, by about 53% from a year earlier, Ukraine's state-run energy firm said on Thursday.

Ukraine, which previously imported gas from Russia, has been buying from European states instead since halting Russian imports in November 2015 following Moscow's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Naftogaz said almost all of its imported gas came from Slovakia.

It said it bought gas from 12 European suppliers including Germany, Switzerland, France, Great Britain, the Czech Republic, Poland and Italy.

The company said others Ukrainian companies had imported an additional 3.6 Bcm of gas including 1.9 Bcm from Hungary, 0.9 Bcm from Poland and 0.8 Bcm from Slovakia.

Ukrainian gas transport monopoly Ukrtransgaz said on Thursday that gas in storage had risen to about 16.7 Bcm by Oct. 10 in preparation for winter.

Ukraine is likely to accumulate about 17 Bcm of gas in underground storage to prepare for winter, the energy ministry has said.

For the last heating season, which runs from October to April, Ukraine had 14 Bcm of gas in reserve.

Ukraine, which produces about 20 Bcm of gas per year, consumed 32.4 Bcm in 2016, of which 11.1 Bcm was imported.

Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; editing by Jason Neely

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