PARIS, March 5 (UPI) -- Ukraine is commended for working to tap into new energy resources but needs to do more to focus on broader energy security issues, the IEA said.
Ulrich Benterbusch, director of global energy dialogue at the International Energy Agency, returned to Paris after leading a delegation to Kiev to meet with Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Boiko.
Ukrainian leaders, he said, are keenly aware of the importance of reform and the need to cooperate with external players like the European Union.
The country could do more, however, by focusing on modernizing its energy infrastructure, increasing oil and natural gas production and promoting more foreign investments in its energy sector.
Benterbusch also "welcomed Ukraine's strong political commitment to develop conventional and unconventional gas resources," the IEA noted.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates Ukraine has as much as 42 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas. U.S. supermajor Exxon Mobil has a deal with state-run energy company Naftogaz and another tender is scheduled by April.
Ukraine's energy ties with Russia are a particular concern for the European Union. As much as 80 percent of Russia's gas heads through Ukraine's pipeline system en route to Europe.
The IEA said it expected to publish a review of Ukraine's energy policies toward the end of the year.