I would like to speak today about a subject that is important not only to the energy security of Ukraine but to the economic stability and growth of the entire continent. I'm talking about the potential of Ukraine's energy reserves and how they can be used to provide a reliable backup source of natural gas for countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom.
As we all know, Europe has been facing an energy crisis in recent years. The reliance on a single natural gas source, Russia, has left the continent at the mercy of geopolitical tensions and market fluctuations. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has caused immense human suffering and destabilisation in the region and has significantly impacted Europe's energy security. The ongoing conflict has led to the disruption of Russian gas supplies to Europe and the constant threat to Ukraine's gas transportation system, which serves as a major transit route for Europe's gas supplies. These threats have led Europe to look for alternative energy sources, such as liquified natural gas from the United States or the Middle East. They have also led to increasing demand for temporary storage solutions. The situation has intensified further because European countries have faced low storage gas reserves. It's particularly true for the United Kingdom, which has some of the most insufficient gas storage capacity in Europe, enough to meet the demand for just four to five winter days, or 1% of the total storage capacity of Europe.
This is where Ukraine comes in. With the second-largest known gas reserves in Europe, excluding Russia for a reasonable cause, Ukraine has the potential to become one of the locomotives of the European energy market. In fact, as of late 2019, Ukraine's known reserves amounted to around one trillion cubic meters of natural gas, second only to Norway's available resources of one and a half trillion cubic meters. However, despite these enormous reserves, Ukraine's gas sector has needed to be more developed, with an annual reserve usage rate as low as 2%. This is partly because much of the relevant expertise and capacity in the Soviet gas exploration and production sector were transferred from Ukraine to the Russian Soviet republic and other East European states during the 1970s, leaving Ukraine's remaining gas resources insufficiently developed and largely unexplored.
But this is changing, as Ukraine is now actively seeking ways to tap into its reserves and become more self-sufficient from an energy perspective. Ukraine does this by offering to use its underground gas storage facilities as a "gas safe" for Europe. As Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal has pointed out, Ukraine has historically used its gas storage capabilities to 20-26 billion cubic meters out of 33 available, leaving the rest to European partners.
As the world’s fintech capital, London is well-positioned to potentially facilitate and support large-scale investment projects such as this one. The city is home to a thriving financial technology sector, and many of the world's leading fintech firms are based in London. This puts the city in a unique position to provide the necessary financial services and support to make this partnership a reality.
In addition, the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) can serve as a powerful networking platform for the businesses of Ukraine and the United Kingdom to cooperate and prosper. The LCCI is one of the oldest and most respected business organisations in the United Kingdom and has a long history of supporting international trade and investment. With its extensive network of contacts and expertise in trade and investment promotion, the LCCI can play a crucial role in supporting the development and growth of the partnership between Ukraine and the United Kingdom.
The partnership between Ukraine and the United Kingdom, which I have outlined today, has the potential to bring significant benefits to both countries. By utilising Ukraine's gas storage facilities as a backup source of natural gas for the United Kingdom, we can ensure a more stable and secure gas supply. And by leveraging London's position as a fintech capital of the world, and the expertise of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, we could create new economic opportunities for both countries and pave the route for a more successful and stable future for all of Europe.