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.