(Bloomberg) -- Ukraine expects more European companies to use its gas storage by September despite ongoing Russian attacks, according to the head of the nation’s biggest energy company.

“There might be a physical necessity of using Ukrainian storage” by that month, with European storage sites well stocked following a mild winter, Oleksiy Chernyshov, chief executive officer of state-run Naftogaz, said in an interview in Berlin. “Traders are able to take the risk,” he added, noting that the cost of storing gas on vessels at sea is relatively high.

Naftogaz has been actively courting European customers to boost fuel inventories in Ukraine, despite at least seven Russian attacks on its gas infrastructure in recent months, according to Chernyshov. Ukraine is offering about 10 billion cubic meters in its underground facilities — roughly a third of the country’s storage capacity — which is greater than any other on the continent west of Russia. 

Traders have so far been cautious due to the security risk and because they need a wide spread between summer and winter gas prices to make storage operations profitable. 

But some companies have been storing gas in Ukraine, including trading houses Trafigura Group, Gunvor Group and Vitol Group, as well as French utility Engie SA, according to people familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified as the details are private.

Trafigura and Gunvor declined to comment, while Vitol didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for Engie said the company has “very small quantities of gas” in the country’s storage, without providing more details.

Naftogaz is hoping that traders outside of the country will pump at least 4 billion cubic meters of gas into its underground facilities, compared with 2.5 billion last year. The company is in talks with more than 100 firms, its CEO said. 

Naftogaz officials are in Berlin this week for the Ukraine Recovery Conference. The firm plans to sign memorandums of understanding with Siemens Energy AG over a potential cooperation on use of equipment and with RAG Austria AG to explore the underground storage of hydrogen.

--With assistance from Anna Shiryaevskaya, Daryna Krasnolutska, Francois de Beaupuy and Archie Hunter.

(Updates with companies that have started using Ukrainian storage in fifth paragraph)

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