Ukraine has natural gas. Without getting into description of the deposits, it can be remembered that 50 years ago Ukraine was exporting gas to the Comecon countries. Gas is available at the continent and at the Black Sea continental shelf. However, since independence obtaining period the geological exploration and drilling new wells have been practically ceased in Ukraine.
Old deposits are exhausted; new ones have not been opened. Money allocated by the state for geological survey has being plundered, and “old school” specialists have moved to develop fields in Siberia. The best in former USSR schools of personnel training (Donetsk and others) have been degenerated due to demand absence.
Relatively recently rectors of technical universities of Ukraine and Russia were carrying out the exploration and mining specialties monitoring. The discrepancy occurred was sized at 34 specialties and it is not in favor of Ukraine. For instance, studying methods of offshore gas and oil extraction are absent in Ukraine. Preparation of such kind of engineer today is possible in Russia, USA, England and Norway and takes eight years, including practice training.
Nevertheless, being the most energy-consuming country in the world currently, Ukraine ensured itself with own natural gas by 20%. In 2013, Ukraine produced about 20 billion cubic meters of natural gas, which is three times less than in 1975.
It is not excluded that holding of special events would substantially bring the situation to a complete energy independence. But a new project realization in Ukraine today is highly unlikely. The strategic planning is traditionally absent here. Annual planning as “from harvest to harvest” is oriented for simple survival. Adequate financial resources will not occur in and of themselves. The investors have a sporting chance of doing this. But diamond cuts diamond here again. And in this situation the local oligarchy is presented as the second diamond.
It is believed that the Ukrainian natural gas is used for population needs. In fact, the Ukrainian natural gas is owned by private individuals which sell it across Europe and do not need competitors in the face of investors. As a result, the main gas supplier for Ukraine is Russia. Trying to get rid of this dependence is systematic. It includes reverse gas supplying from Europe. However, it is technically difficult, has situational nature and is able to provide Ukraine with no more than 10%.
Now there is new hope called shale gas. Contracts with U.S. companies “Shell” and “Chevron” in the south and west of Ukraine are signed respectively.
System studies of shale gas were not carried out, but Yuzovskaya and Olesskaya areas guarantee gas availability in the size of several trillion cubic meters. Then the question arises how much of these reserves are commercially advantageous and safely for extraction with using already existing technologies?
Both projects, Shell and Chevron, were vetoed by local regional administrations. This is explained by the fact that modern technologies for shale gas extraction affect on the environment destructively. An applied method of hydrofracing requires a large amount of water, sand and highly toxic chemicals. Contaminated water poisons countryside practically forever and become radioactive as a rule. This constantly appears in the USA, where shale gas is produced in the sparsely populated territories.
At the same time the local population uses only imported water. Wells for shale gas extraction are located closely to each other and used for a short time period, after which the rigs are moving on further, leaving behind a moonlit scene. One well requires 8 to 16 thousand cubic meters of water approximately, and this despite the fact that one tone of water costs more than one tone of gasoline in Europe today. Poisoning the water and ground, the soil structure breaks, the landscape disappearance (and shale gas area in Ukraine is located under the forests, pastures and arable lands), oncology diseases of the local population and even the possibility of earthquakes together with low profitability (cost for one thousand cubic meters of gas exceeds $ 100 ) makes the project, mildly speaking, not attractive. In addition, 70% of gas will be taken away by Americans and 30% will be remained in Ukraine with incurable consequences at the poisoned areas.
Kiev authorities need gas as air, so they have to breath calmly and listen more
Thus, current shale gas technology needs people and the land that are not sorry to waste. Not accidentally countries such as France, Germany, Romania, etc. have declined shale gas production, and owning very large stocks Poland suffered a mining project on the discussion platform. The above can explain American aggression aimed on the Donetsk region with its major reserves of shale gas. Pragmatic Americans always try to compensate own costs spent on the stateness destruction of the world with different values (Iraq, Libya, Syria , Ukraine , etc.) with consecutive income from oil and gas development.
So, what is the solution?
It is clear that in today’s political situation, it is difficult to discuss this issue, but the only one way out is joining the Customs Union. Ukraine would receive gas in three times cheaper price. In addition, the prospect of development of new technologies for gas and other minerals extraction will be possible as well as constructive approaches of alternative energy sources usage.