Coal piles are seen at a warehouse of the Trypillian thermal power plant, owned by Ukrainian state-run energy company Centrenergo, in Kiev region, Ukraine, 23 November 2017. Photo: Valentyn Ogirenko / REUTERS

By Alessandra Prentice, with additional reporting by Natalia Zinets, Pavel Polityuk, and Agnieszka Barteczko; editing by David Stamp
19 February 2018

KIEV (Reuters) – For the first time in Ukraine’s history, U.S. anthracite is helping to keep the lights on and the heating going this winter following a deal that has also helped to warm Kiev’s relations with President Donald Trump.

The Ukrainian state-owned company that imported the coal told Reuters that the deal made commercial sense. But it was also politically expedient, according to a person involved in the talks on the agreement and power industry insiders.

On Trump’s side it provided much-needed orders for a coal-producing region of the United States which was a vital constituency in his 2016 presidential election victory.

On the Ukrainian side the deal helped to win favor with the White House, whose support Kiev needs in its conflict with Russia, as well as opening up a new source of coal at a time when its traditional supplies are disrupted.

Trump’s campaign call to improve relations with the Kremlin alarmed the pro-Western leadership in Ukraine, which lost Crimea to Russia in 2014 and is still fighting pro-Moscow separatists.

However, things looked up when President Petro Poroshenko visited the White House on June 20 last year. “The meeting with Trump was a key point, a milestone,” a Ukrainian government source told Reuters, requesting anonymity.

The Americans had set particular store by supplying coal to Ukraine. “I felt that for them it is important,” said the source, who was present at the talks that also included a session with Vice President Mike Pence.

Despite Trump’s incentives, U.S. utilities are shutting coal-fired plants and shifting to gas, wind, and solar power. Ailing U.S. mining companies are therefore boosting exports to Asia and seeking new buyers among eastern European countries trying to diversify from Russian supplies.

Trump, who championed U.S. coal producers on the campaign trail, pressed the message after meeting Poroshenko. “Ukraine already tells us they need millions and millions of metric tons right now,” he said in a speech nine days later. “We want to sell it to them, and to everyone else all over the globe who need it.”

The deal with Kiev was sealed the following month, after which U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said: “As promised during the campaign, President Trump is unshackling American energy with each day on the job.” […]

Neighboring Poland, which Trump visited in July, is also turning increasingly to U.S. coal. Its imports from the United States jumped five-fold last year to 839,000 tonnes, data from the state-run ARP agency showed.

In July Ukrainian state-owned energy company Centrenergo announced the deal with U.S. company Xcoal for the supply of up to 700,000 tonnes of anthracite. [more]

How a U.S. coal deal warmed Ukraine's ties with Trump


  1. robert bonacci said...

    Burn it all... #1decadeleft  


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