KIEV, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- A group of companies including U.S. energy giant Exxon Mobil and the Royal Dutch Shell won a bid to explore oil and gas reserves in Skifska area in the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea, a Ukrainian government official said Wednesday.
According to the deal, the consortium of energy companies will invest 10 billion to 12 billion U.S. dollars into the project, said the country's Environment and Natural Resources Minister Eduard Stavitsky.
The consortium, which also includes Romania's Petrom Company and Ukraine's state-run Nadra Ukraine firm, will start exploration this year.
Ukraine is pinning great hopes on its domestic gas production, aiming at producing about 45 billion cubic meters of gas per year by 2020, up by 25 cubic meters compared to the current annual productivity. Potential output in the Skifska area exceeds 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
Seeking to reduce its dependence on Russia's natural gas exports, the Ukrainian government has been working hard to develop its own energy recourses.