Ukraine to lose offshore gas fields in Black Sea

With the loss of Crimea, Ukraine has lost not only its naval bases in the territory, but also offshore gas fields in the Black Sea, reports said on Thursday.

Izvor: Beta

Thursday, 20.03.2014.

16:19

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Ukraine to lose offshore gas fields in Black Sea

Last weekend, 97 percent of those who turned out to vote in a referendum on Crimea's status voted in favor the peninsula joining Russia. The new authorities in Crimea decided to nationalizine the oil and gas company Chornomornaftogaz, a part of Ukraine's Naftogaz.

Chornomornaftogaz owns 17 fields and has 13 offshore platforms, in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov, employing 4,000 people, the French agency said, adding that Crimean Deputy PMr Rustam Temirgaliyev told Moscow's Kommersant daily that the company would soon be put up for privatization and that Gazprom had expressed an interest.

Chornomornaftogaz's deputy chief executive Volodymyr Plechun told Forbes that "representatives of the new authorities took the helm of the company on March 13, accompanied by gunmen," adding that four representatives of Gazprom were also there, and "immediately began to study documents."

The men armed with automatic weapons were then deployed at Chornomornaftogaz's platforms, said the report.

Chornomornaftogaz's production accounts for more than five percent of Ukraine's overall production.

"It is never good to lose an asset, but it's not a critical loss. All of the extracted gas will be for consumers in Crimea. This means that the population of mainland Ukraine will not be affected," Dmytro Marunych, an analyst at the Energy Research Institute, was quoted as saying.

"Although largely symbolic, the loss will be painful for the government in Kiev, which for years has been trying to reduce its dependence on Russian gas imports," AFP noted, and added that after two foreign investors abandoned plans to invest in Black Sea platforms because of the crisis, "the result of this is that Ukraine may be forced to pay Gazprom more for gas extracted by Chornomornaftogaz."

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