Experts of the DiXi Group Think Tank presented the priority tasks of the Transparent Energy Project for the nearest future. In particular, journalists and public figures invited to the briefing were told about the 5 most relevant "black boxes" in the energy sector. These include tampering involving heat energy suppliers because of the lack of complete record-keeping; non-transparent supply of coal, especially from the occupied territories; financial standing of Ukrnafta; reports of abuse by regional gas companies because of unaccounted supply and production losses; and possible schemes for importing oil products.
"As of now, we have marked over 20 issues in the energy sector where there is lack of information or there are significant suspicions of hidden manipulations. These "black boxes" are selected based on the analysis of public information, frequency of problem mentions in the media, and data provided by experts and journalists. Today, we have presented only the 5 most relevant "boxes", but they need to be opened", said Roman Nitsovych, DiXi Group Program Manager.
According to the project participants, the best way to combat these "boxes" is to achieve a high level of transparency in the energy sector. "Openness of the energy sector is a necessary step for its "recovery". Only when it becomes clear where the system inefficiently spends money and resources will we be able to make decisions that will bring the result. Only when potential investors come to the understanding of the sector as a whole will we be able to talk about trust and strategic decisions to come to Ukraine. And as to opening the sector and making it clear, this task could be done only by a large number of like-minded people: journalists, experts, politicians, and managers," said the President of the DiXi Group Think Tank Olena Pavlenko.
One of the objectives of the project is to create an online map of the energy sector. The coalition composed of experts, public figures and journalists has been working over such map for several months now. Besides, a competition of journalistic investigations in the energy sector was announced within the project. According to the Project Manager, Vice President of DiXi Group Anton Antonenko, they are looking for those who will help them open such "black boxes".
"We are looking for journalists who will explore "black boxes", disclose and analyze information together with the experts. It is important to understand whether there is something hidden or there is a lack of relevant information. We believe that availability of information is vitally important for enhancing transparency of the energy sector, building public trust and good governance", he said.
Oleksii Hladkov, the Head of Informational and Analytical Support Department of the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine said, in his turn, that the Ministry of Energy and Coal Industry wants to create a separate platform for publishing open data of the industries under its coordination. "We are currently working on the issue as to what form such resource should have and analyzing similar resources of other countries," he said. "The Ministry is interested in implementing this project as soon as possible to disclose the required data to the public and show that we are open."
USAID Transparent Energy Project was launched in November 2016. It aims to fight corruption and improve financial transparency in Ukraine's energy sector. This is to be achieved by way of disclosure, analysis and publication of information about the energy sector, which is either protected, or public access to which is restricted.