(Bloomberg) — A Pennsylvania company will send 700,000 tons of coal to Ukraine in a deal the administration of President Donald Trump heralded as an important tool to undercut the power Russia has over its European neighbors.
While Trump has pledged to improve ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his administration says it’s trying to use more U.S. exports of coal, natural gas and oil to curtail Putin’s sway with Russian natural resources. Ukraine had been reliant on Russia for much of its oil and gas, and its domestic thermal coal supply collapsed because much comes from the rebel-controlled eastern part of the nation.
“In recent years, Kiev and much of Eastern Europe have been reliant on and beholden to Russia to keep the heat on,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a statement announcing the coal-export deal. “That changes now. The United States can offer Ukraine an alternative, and today we are pleased to announce that we will.”
At a ceremony in Kiev Monday, Pennsylvania-based Xcoal Energy & Resources LLC announced an agreement with Ukraine power generator Centrenergo PJSC to supply the 700,000 tons for this winter season. Ukraine’s initial purchase for 210,000 tons will be at a price of $113 a ton, Oleh Kozemko, acting chief executive officer of Centrenergo, told reporters during a press conference in Kiev.
“They don’t want to rely on the Russians, so they are required to import it from somebody,” said Barry Worthington, executive director of the independent United States Energy Association.
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