The Ukrainian natural gas production sector might receive a new foreign investor soon. A Slovak oil and gas drilling company, Nafta intends to invest $200 million USD in exploration and extraction of natural gas in Ukrainian gas fields.
A statement came from representatives of Nafta and its main stakeholder, Czech Republic-based EPH holding during their last visit to Kyiv, as reported by gazeta.ua. Joseph Levoca, the director for exploration and production presented plans to develop the Yuzivska natural gas field, including seismic works and drilling 15 new wells, and named Nafta as the operator of the works.
Designated as a guarantor for investment obligations is the EPH holding, a major, vertically integrated entity in Central Europe that runs over 50 companies in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, Poland and Hungary.
EPH has a total staff of approximately 25,000 people working in the production, distribution and supply of electric energy, the storage and transmission of gas, and carbon dioxide extraction. In 2016, EPH earned 4.9 billion EUR in revenues while the company’s net worth was estimated at over 12 billion EUR.
The owner and the chairperson of the EPH board of directors is Czech billionaire Daniel Kretinsky, whose personal net worth was estimated by Forbes at $2.6 billion USD. In 2016, Kretinsky ranked sixth among the wealthiest Czech citizens. Kretinsky’s fortune increased to a nine-digit figure after the sale of a 31-percent stake in the EPIF, a structural division of EPH, to Australia-based Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets investment fund. EPIF manages oil- and gas-affiliated assets including Nafta and Eustream.
Nafta is a leader in the development and extraction of carbon dioxides in Slovakia with over 100 years of experience in this sector. The company operates underground gas storage facilities with the storage capacity of 2.74 billion cubic meters of natural gas and engages in development and production of carbon dioxide deposits near the border with Ukraine.
In Ukraine, the Slovakian producer is already engaged in a joint project with the Cub Energy company on the development of the Uzhgorod gas field. In the past two years, Nafta carried out 2D and 3D seismic studies. It plans to start drilling this year.