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Ukraine Issue Tender For Oil and Gas Exploration

Ukraine will hold an open bidding on March 25 among investors interested in taking part in the exploration of the oil and natural gas fields on the Black Sea

Ukraine will hold an open bidding on March 25 among investors interested in taking part in the exploration of the oil and natural gas fields on the Black Sea continental shelf, President Viktor Yushchenko said Saturday in a radio speech.

Fifteen famous companies worldwide have registered for the bidding, which marks the first of its kind to attract investment partners in tapping energy resources on the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea, the president said.

The successful bidder will sign an agreement with the Ukranian side on the distribution of products from the oil and natural gas fields in question.

The 15 potential bidders are from the United States, Turkey, Brazil, China, Britain, Germany and Ukraine, and include such industry giants Shell, Shevron and Exxon.

The oil and gas fields, located off the coast of the Kerch strait, cover an area of 12,960 square km and lie 70 to 2,000 meters beneath the sea surface.

President Yushchenko added that Ukraine, which pumped some 4.1 million tons of oil and 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas in 2005, needs to further increase output amid price hikes of the international energy market.