The prospect of own production of non-conventional gas significantly influences Ukraine's choice of  main directions of international integration, deputy director of the American Institute in Ukraine Mr. James Jatras said during discussion on consequences of unconventional gas production, ForUm correspondent reports.

According to expert, it is a choice between the Customs Union (CU) and the association with the European Union:

"There is every indication of that the "shale" dilemma has recently escalated due to the reason that the country is at a crucial stage, before the demonstration of fulfillment of the conditions identified by Brussels to promote the signing of the Association Agreement. Moscow has exposed its own conditions and stresses that Kyiv will not have any impact on the CU in status of "observer", and that in view of reducing the importance of Ukraine as a transit country, Russia can participate in a gas consortium with Ukraine only if Ukraine withdraws from the EU Energy Community.

The expert added that the reserves of unconventional gas in the country are estimated at 1.2 trillion m3, which is the third largest reserve in Europe. "Shell investment could reach about $ 10 billion, but the amount could reach $ 50 billion. In May 2012, Shell and Chevron won tenders for the development of Yuzivske anf Oleske fields, and in August of that year, the ExxonMobil consortium, Shell , OMV Petrom (Romania) and state-owned enterprises "Nadra Ukraine" won the competition for the production of conventional gas in the Scythian field in the Black Sea shelf. In this case, Shell and ExxonMobil explore the possibility of developing unconventional gas basins in Lviv and Donetsk regions," Mr. Jatras said.

He believes that as Ukraine progresses in the plans of unconventional gas production, the louder will be rival statements of supporters and opponents.

He added that Ukraine needs to mute rhetoric and carefully listen to all the sides (not just rival politicians) on the full range of related issues. "This includes the possible volume of gas reserves, the impact on the country's energy independence, relations with Russia and Europe, the likely environmental and consumer impact on the population, as well as the way to use expected revenues. This will require a full public discussion of all points of view, including industrialists, environmentalists and consumers, which requires an atmosphere of constructive dialogue, mutual trust and open-mindedness," the expert concluded.


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