KIEV Jan 27 The signing of a gas
production-sharing agreement between Ukraine and an
international consortium led by U.S. major Exxon Mobil
has been postponed for the second time in a row, Ukraine's fuel
and energy minister said on Monday.
"We will sign it (the agreement) in February," Eduard
Stavytsky told reporters in brief remarks after an official
briefing. He did not give a reason for the fresh delay.
The government orginally intended to sign the deal, which is
expected to bring Ukraine several billion cubic metres (bcm) of
gas per year, in November but Stavytsky postponed the decision
until January due to mass anti-government protests in Kiev.
In 2012, Ukraine selected a group of companies led by Exxon
Mobil to explore conventional gas deposits in the southern
Skifska area on the Black Sea shelf, which has a potential
output of 3 bcm of gas per year.
The postponed deal would have formalised a production
sharing agreement for these deposits.
In December, Russia agreed to cut gas prices for Ukraine by
a third after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich walked away
from a trade agreement with Europe. Kiev said that a deal for
cheaper Russian gas would not affect its standing agreements
Western energy companies for shale gas exploration.