Ukraine cancels oil and gas contract with Trident Acquisitions

Ukraine’s Ministry of Energy and Coal Mining has cancelled a contract with US-based energy investment company Trident Acquisitions, stripping the company of its rights to produce oil and gas from Ukraine’s offshore Dolphin block at the northwestern corner of the Black Sea’s continental shelf.

“We canceled the decision,” wrote Ukraine Business News, quoting Ukrainian energy minister Oleksiy Orzhel, adding that Roman Opimakh, the executive director of the Ukrainian Association of Gas Producers also supported the cancellation of the contract.

On July 30, Trident Acquisitions won a public competition to explore and produce oil and gas from Ukraine’s offshore Dolphin block. The two-month preparation period for the competition was criticised, with claims that the period was too short and major multinational companies were not encouraged to bid.

The move comes shortly after US energy giant ExxonMobil announced that it would pull out from a Romanian offshore gas project near the Dolphin block where Trident had been offered exploration and production rights.

Reacting to the energy ministry’s announcement, the company said that Ukraine had lost one billion US dollars of new investment.