Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said under the draft deal Chevron would invest $350 million in shale exploration at the Oleske field in western Ukraine, the National Radio Company of Ukraine reported Wednesday.
NRCU reported the field is expected to hold more than 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
The announcement comes after Russian energy company Gazprom said Ukraine was late in paying off its natural gas debt. Gazprom cut natural gas supplies to Ukraine most recently in 2009 because of payment concerns. Ukraine says it's paying more for Russian gas than its regional counterparts.
Ukraine is one of the Eastern European countries thought to be rich in shale natural gas. The government said there may be enough natural gas in shale reserve areas to meet the country's needs without imports.
In January, Royal Dutch Shell signed a $10 billion contract to explore Ukrainian shale.
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