Top Ukrainian official asks Saudi Arabia to fix fuel crisis
As prices spike worldwide Ukraine experiences an energy crisis as gas and fuel supplies run out
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Wednesday called on Saudi Arabia to step up and fix the fuel crisis as shortages plague the war-torn country and prices skyrocket worldwide.
Following a meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan Al Saud, Kuleba said he asked the top oil-producing nation to help "resolve" the fuel crisis.
Ukraine has seen a serious fuel shortage over the last several weeks as Russia has continued its devastating invasion and supply chains have fallen victim to Moscow’s aggression.
The more than 340-mile stretch between Lyiv and Kyiv had just two working gas stations as of last week. And Dozens of vehicles were seen lining up on May 19 from a closed gas station outside of Kyiv after rumors spread the station "might" receive an oil shipment in a matter of hours, according to reports by The Economist.
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Ukraine’s energy sector has been flagging under Moscow's deadly war with a naval blockade in the south, destroyed oil refineries, damaged railways and a dependence on foreign oil from adversarial nations like Russia and Belarus.
Luhansk, Ukraine’s most northeastern region that shares a border with Russia and remains under heavy fighting, announced Wednesday that the last gas distribution station in the region was shut down.
"Now the region is completely without natural gas," a regional official said on Telegram.
The officials said the last surviving fuel distribution center was targeted by Russian shelling.
The Saudi foreign ministry did not immediately respond to Fox News’ questions regarding the meeting Wednesday with its Ukrainian counterpart.
It remains unclear if or how Saudi Arabia would be able to assist Kyiv with getting fuel into the war-torn nation, but Riyadh has already said no to assisting the global community with worldwide shortages.
Prince Faisal told the World Economic Forum in Davos this week that producing more crude will not relieve the spiking prices at the pump.
"It's much more complex than just bringing barrels to the market," he said according to a report by S&P Global. "As far as we are aware, there is no shortfall of oil. The problem is refined products, which is something that is more connected to a lack of investment over the last year-and-a-half [to] two years in refining capacity."
The Saudi foreign minister suggested the fuel shortage was a result of underinvestment in refining capacities.
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Refinery outages have increased due to maintenance issues, supply line cuts and closures, the market report noted.
Urgent calls to reduce greenhouse gases have reportedly led to a decrease in refinery investment following the pandemic, but ongoing demand has meant fossil fuels are still needed.
Refusal to increase output by top OPEC nations has meant countries like Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Russia will continue to see economic profits out of the energy crisis.
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But International Energy (IEA) chief Fatih Birol warned this week that the right investments need to be made at this critical time when countries are reeling from energy shortages and the climate crisis.
"We need fossil fuels in the short term, but let's not lock in our future by using the current situation as an excuse to justify some of the investments being done, time-wise it doesn't work and morally in my view it doesn't work as well," Birol said during the World Economic Forum this week, reported Reuters.
Birol argued that increased investment in renewable energy and nuclear power will mean the world will not have to choose between clean energy and reliable supplies.