Ukraine plans to award first shale gas licenses

The government of the Ukraine said Aug. 23 it will award the first concessions for shale gas exploration in that Eastern European country in the near future. Ukraine’s shale reserves are estimated at between 1.5 trillion cubic meters (53 tcf) and 2.5 trillion cubic meters (88 tcf) of technically recoverable shale gas, which are some of the largest shale reserves in Europe.

Ukraine declared its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991 and has since been largely dependent on Russia for gas imports. Ukrainian energy minister Yuriv Boyko said his country would like to reduce that dependence by developing its own energy reserves. Ukraine has been trying to get Russia to lower the price of gas it sells to Ukraine, but Russia has refused unless Ukraine turns over control of its gas pipelines to Gazprom – something the Ukrainians will not do.

Among the countries that have shown an interest in helping Ukraine develop its shale gas reserves are Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Eni, Shell, and Statoil. Ukrainian officials have visited several US companies in the past year in hopes of acquiring help developing its own gas supply.

“I know that a number of auctions for the allocation of concession areas for the production of shale gas will be held in the near future,” Boyko said.

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