THE RUSSIAN GAS-MEASURING STATION SUDZHA NEAR THE UKRAINIAN BORDER, RUSSIA. UKRAINE COULD BECOME A NET GAS EXPORTER BY THE MIDDLE OF THE NEXT DECADE.| EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO
Ukraine’s Energy and Coal Minister Eduard Stavytsky said his country could bring in more international majors to explore its hydrocarbon fields on production-sharing terms and become a net gas exporter by 2025.
Ukraine and the European Union will hold round table on gas consortium soon, he said. “We plan by the end of this year to sign at least four more PSA's [production-sharing agreements] on top of the existing two. As a result, investors will be able to start exporting gas to Europe in four or five years and Ukraine could become a net gas exporter by the middle of the next decade,” Stavytsky said at the annual energy forum in Lech, Austria, on 12 April.
Stavytsky said Ukraine would grant investors free access to pipelines and Ukraine's underground gas storage facilities, as per its national legislation and status as a member of the Energy Community. Kiev is holding negotiations with Poland, Hungary, Italy, Germany and other European countries about the use of Ukraine's storage facilities by these countries, Stavytsky said. “We also expect our EU neighbours to honour their commitments. Above all this concerns unimpeded reverse gas supplies to Ukraine via the territory of EU states,” the minister said.
He also said Ukraine was interested in the gradual formation of a gas hub in the country, which would be an integral part of an East European gas hub. Ukraine's advantage is its system of gas storage facilities, which can store over 30 billion cubic metres of gas at any one time but could have their capacity increased to 50-55 billion cubic metres.“We expect that the successful gas hub models in Britain and the Netherlands will be implemented gradually in other EU countries. We are interested in such a European gas market in order to diversify gas supplies to Ukraine as a source of revenue for gas transit services to Europe, and for gas storage under both long-term contracts and in spot trading; and as a stable and sizeable market for future exports of our own gas,” Stavytsky said.
Shell in January signed a $10 billion contract to explore Ukrainian shale. Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said there may be enough natural gas in shale plays to meet the country's needs without imports.
In related news, Regal Petroleum said the latest assessment of Ukrainian natural gas reserves was lower than expected. Regal said reserves were lower than expected from its Mekhediviska-Golotvshinska and Svyrydivske gas and condensate fields in Ukraine. A third party stated there was a material reduction in proved and proved-plus-probable reserves at the natural gas fields.
Ukraine is struggling to improve its image as a natural gas transit area following disagreements with Russian gas monopoly Gazprom. Ukraine hasn't been able to secure financial support to revamp its gas transit system but is reviewing gas deposits, particularly shale gas reserves, in the interim.