MOSCOW, Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Russian energy company TNK-BP is in the advanced stage of acquiring oil and natural gas assets in Ukraine, a business development chief said.
Boris Zilbermints, TNK-BP vice president in charge of international business development, said Wednesday the company was looking at onshore developments in Ukraine.
"We are at quite an advanced stage of negotiations on acquiring assets," he was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying. "There are three basins in Ukraine, and we are looking at all of them."
TNK-BP last year bid on a production sharing agreement for the Yuzovska shale natural gas prospect in Ukraine. The company lost out, however, to Royal Dutch Shell.
In January, Shell Chief Executive Officer Peter Voser signed a $10 billion contract to explore Ukrainian shale. The government estimates that Shell is targeting an area said to contain about 4 trillion cubic feet of shale natural gas.
Ukraine aims to wean itself from a contentious energy relationship with Russia. Kiev is locked in a dispute over a $7 billion bill sent by Russian energy company Gazprom for unused natural gas from 2012 covered under a "take-or-pay" contract.
Peter Clark, the Chevron manager for Ukraine, told the Kiev Post last week that Ukrainian shale reserves may be comparable to those in the United States.