Ukraine is estimated to hold large unexploited on- and offshore reserves of gas and oil. But until this year, none of the world's energy majors had been granted sizeable exploration or production rights. The offshore tender by Ukraine comes months after the government chose Chevron of the US and Royal Dutch Shell through a tender process to pursue multibillion-dollar onshore exploration projects expected to use shale gas and other unconventional extraction methods to unearth hydrocarbons.
Ukraine has approved a joint offshore exploration bid led by ExxonMobil and Royal Dutch Shell to unlock oil and gas reserves deep under the Black Sea, the Financial Times reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper cited three people familiar with the situation as saying the grouping, which also includes Romania's OMV Petrom and Ukraine's state company Nadra, was chosen in a tender process over Russia's Lukoil.
"Big finds are expected in the Skifska field, attractive in being massive in size as well as adjacent and geologically similar to where ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom are exploring off Romania's coast," an unnamed Ukrainian government official was quoted as saying.
The tender is due to be announced on Wednesday.