Ukraine, Chevron Sign Shale Gas Deal

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -

The Ukrainian government on Tuesday signed a shale gas production-sharing agreement with Chevron, as the country strives for energy independence from neighboring Russia.

Energy Minister Eduard Stavitsky said Tuesday that under the deal, Chevron will initially invest $350 million into exploratory and drilling work in the Oleska field in western Ukraine. Total investment could surpass $10 billion over 50 years.

The Ukrainian state will receive 30 percent or more of the extracted gas, depending on the field’s capacity. The deal follows a similar agreement signed with Shell this year.

Ukraine has been trying to reduce its dependence on natural gas from Russia, because Moscow has been applying pressure, including sanctions, on Ukraine to prevent it from signing a free-trade agreement with the European Union this month.