Norwegian Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum has today signed an agreement to provide funding of NOK 2 billion ($195.2 million at the current exchange rate) to enable Ukraine to purchase natural gas during the coming winter.
The statement on the website of the Norwegian government says that the funding will be channeled through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), and it was First Vice President Jürgen Rigterink who signed the agreement on behalf of the bank in Oslo today.
“Ukraine has specifically asked Norway for support for the procurement of natural gas this winter. The timing is critical, and we are very pleased that the EBRD is to be our partner in carrying out gas purchases. It is important to channel the support through an established, internationally recognized organization, which will ensure effective and transparent use of the funding,” the finance minister said.
According to the statement, NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy will be the formal recipient of the gas in Ukraine. In practice, payments will be made directly to European gas suppliers that have received prior approval and will invoice for the volume of gas they deliver.
“As winter approaches in earnest in Ukraine, Russia has been using energy as a weapon and has been targeting critical infrastructure in an attempt to crush Ukraine’s resistance. Russia’s actions are serious violations of international law and are causing severe hardship for the people of Ukraine. Norwegian support to secure energy supplies is therefore vitally important for Ukraine,” said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
The EBRD has confirmed that Norway, a founding member of the EBRD and robust donor partner, has agreed to provide a NOK 2 billion grant to top up a EUR 300 million EBRD loan to Naftogaz.
“To address Ukraine’s most pressing economic needs, the EBRD is prioritising trade finance, energy security, vital infrastructure, food security and providing liquidity to the pharmaceutical industry. Investments in all areas involve donor support from partners such as Norway, the United States of America, the European Union, Germany, the United Kingdom and Canada,” it said.
As reported, Prime Minister of Norway Jonas Gahr Støre announced in July that the country’s government would provide Ukraine with NOK 10 billion in 2022 and 2023. Of this money, NOK 2 billion would be spent on gas purchase.