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Russia-US bid for Ukrainian gas

Lukiol and ExxonMobil have entered into a bidding war to explore an area offshore Ukraine

Ukraine is accepting bids for oil and natural gas exploration in Skifska and Foroska offshore fields on the Black Sea coast

Russian and US energy giants are competing for exploration rights to Ukraine’s Black Sea Skifska field, it emerged this week.

Russia's Lukoil Overseas and a group led by ExxonMobil are bidding on the field, which has a potential yield of 3-4 billion cubic metres of hydrocarbons. Kiev opened bidding for the Skifska field as part of its long-term strategy to decrease its reliance on Russian energy imports from Russia.

A second Ukranian field, Foroska, with 2-3 billion estimated cubic metres, is yet to have received bids. Kiev invited bidding for the two offshore fields in June.

'Two bids have come in for Skifska: there was an individual one from Lukoil Overseas, and Exxon Mobil also made a general bid for a group of companies which included Shell, Petrom and Nadra Ukrainy,' Ecology and Natural Resources Minister Eduard Stavitsky told journalists.

The price of Russian gas to Ukraine has been rising steadily in the last decade and could rise to as much as USD 415 per thousand cubin metres this year. Prices may only be cut if Ukraine agrees to allow Russian energy giant Gazprom to buy into its gas pipelines, which transport the bulk of Russian gas to Europe

Ukraine has already selected Shell and Chevron to explore and develop two potentially large shale gas fields at Yuzivska and Olesska respectively.