Crisis in Ukraine expands. Now it grasped power strong by a throat. And the power is a key branch on which functioning everything literally depends: from the huge metallurgical enterprises to city plumbing and sanitary.

In this terrifying destruction picture almost unnoticed is a very important aspect — motor fuel. And the most paradoxical thing is that this aspect influences the country bigger than, for example, the Ukrainian coal crisis. We will speak about propane-butane (liquefied hydrocarbon gases).

Even in the best years Ukraine was poorer than Russia. Yes, there were pluses, for example, lower quotations on public utilities. But average salaries in Ukraine were lower, it was possible to get fewer goods on them and such important goods as gasoline, costs an average 25% more expensive. Since that happy time purchasing power of citizens of Ukraine, only according to official figures, decreased more than on a quarter and fuel and public utilities rose in price.

The main answer of common Ukrainians to high cost of gasoline (and diesel fuel) here more than 20 years is transfer of transport to gas, first of all — on propane-butane. It is quite expected that after inflation jump process of gasification of the Ukrainian transport was accelerated.

If in 2013, according to the Ukrainian power exchange, about 0.9 million tons propane-butane were consumed, in 2016 this indicator grew to 1.35 million tons. On needs of the Ukrainian industry there are only 5% of liquefied hydrocarbon gas, 10% are assumed by household sector, and 85% are consumed in auto gas sector.
Besides own production of the liquefied hydrocarbon gases in Ukraine steadily decreased the last decade and import grew. According to the UPECO Company, in January-October 2016 demand for liquefied hydrocarbon gas in Ukraine grew on 35% (from 896 thousand tons to 1.21 million tons). And as production was reduced on 2.3% (to 321 thousand tons), import grew on phenomenal 56% (to 890 thousand tons).

The events were quite expected. Ai-95 gasoline in Ukraine now costs about 24.5 hryvnas (more than 52 rubles) for 1 liter. In some areas it is more expensive. That is gasoline becomes luxury under the new economic conditions. Thus propane-butane costs twice cheaper.

Re-equipment of the car on liquefied hydrocarbon gas is quite fast and rather inexpensive thing. The payback period depends on average annual mileage. Perhaps, your mileage is very little — less than 3 thousand km a year. Then re-equipment of the car on propane-butane does not make sense, as will not manage to beat off expense before change the car. Or it will collapse from old age.
Let’s not forget that not only common automobilists are engaged in transfer of transport to gas, but also the whole vehicle fleets. The taxi, minibuses and small trucks pass in a year very long distances, respectively economy potential on fuel at them is highest.

By the way, there are some words about economy. It is necessary to consider that 1 liter of propane-butane does not correspond to 1 liter of gasoline. If 10 liters of gasoline are enough for 100 km, it will be required about 12 liters of propane-butane under the same conditions. It should be considered for calculation of possible economy.

Let transport be promptly gasified and consumption of propane-butane grows in Ukraine. But how does it touch on Russia?

The matter is that Russia is the main supplier of liquefied hydrocarbon gas to Ukraine. And if in 2015 400 thousand tons of propane-butane were delivered there from our country, in 2016 this indicator increased to 700 thousand tons. Russia provides about 75% of all Ukrainian import today.

By estimates of petrochemical holding Sibur, commodity production of the liquefied hydrocarbon gases in Russia in 2016 made 13.9 million tons (0.7 million tons more than in 2015). Consumption in domestic market also grew on 0.3 million tons approximately. According to the existing plans growth rates of production next years will advance growth rates of consumption. Of course, further development of petrochemical productions is expected in Russia. And liquefied hydrocarbon gas is the most valuable raw materials for petrochemistry, the mass of goods which each of us faces in everyday life is made of it. However in case of overproduction export is considered the saving valve for «excess» volumes.

If in 2015 export of liquefied hydrocarbon gas made 5.7 million tons, in the 2016 – 6.1 million tons. As we already noted, considerable part of this gain accounts for a share of Ukraine. Besides, volumes of deliveries to Poland increased: from 1 million tons in 2015 to 1.2 million tons in 2016. It is remarkable that a part of this volume was re-exported to Ukraine. Direct analogy to «reverse» of natural gas: when under the guise of the European methane Ukraine buys Russian but is more expensive.

During the same period Russia approximately reduced deliveries of liquefied hydrocarbon gas to Turkey on 30%. It beneficially affected opportunities to satisfy needs of Poland and Ukraine.
Because of appeal of export the in-Russian consumer at the separate moments of 2016 faced deficiency and sharp jumps in prices. It was more favorable to carry liquefied hydrocarbon gas abroad than to sell to the Russian consumer. Fortunately, some players, being focused only on the in-Russian market, did not allow full-scale deficiency and the situation was completely normalized by fall.

But this year the situation with petrol prices and diesel fuel in Ukraine will inevitably be aggravated. Besides, tariffs for utilities considerably will grow and for many enterprises the economy on fuels and lubricants will become one of the few available ways to keep some similarity of profitability. All this will lead to further growth of consumption of propane-butane on the Ukrainian transport. Import will increase. And who will give a helping hand to Ukraine? It is Russia only — a “country-aggressor”.

But as far as it is manage to be made if to consider that deliveries to the same Turkey will be restored? Fortunately, production of liquefied hydrocarbon gas grows in Russia as the oil and gas companies increase the volume of utilization of associated oil gas and also increase production of gas condensate — the main raw materials for liquefied hydrocarbon gas. So, despite probability of short-term deficiency and increase in prices in domestic market a Russian consumer also will not be deprived of propane-butane, as well as (despite everything) the brotherly people.