Royal Dutch Shell and Chevron won tenders in May to explore for unconventional gas in eastern and western Ukraine. If successful, the exploration could lead to industrial gas extraction by 2018-19. That, in turn, could reduce Russian political influence on Ukraine by making it less dependent on Russian gas imports.
But the method of drilling – hydraulic fracturing – has been banned by several European countries because of its supposed environmental hazards. Other countries have placed a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing until more information is available.
The added fear of using hydraulic fracturing – also called fracking – in Ukraine is that it could pollute drinking water supplies in a nation that is already facing a shortage.