US energy giant Chevron is interested in taking a stake in Ukraine’s natural gas pipeline network, which the country is opening to Western investors, Russian media reported Monday.
Last week Ukraine approved a law allowing EU and US investors to buy up to 49 percent of Naftogaz, which operates the gas pipeline network for both domestic consumption and transit of Russian gas to Europe.
Russian news agency ITAR-TASS cited three sources saying that three companies have expressed interest in the deal, with two confirming that Chevron was among them.
Chevron declined to comment on what it called media speculation regarding its business activities, ITAR-TASS cited it as saying.
The US company entered Ukraine last year when it signed a shale gas production sharing agreement.
Control of the country’s pipeline network is a sensitive issue, and Ukraine has previously rebuffed attempts by Russian gas giant Gazprom to buy a stake in Naftogaz.
Russia has turned off gas supplies to Ukraine during disputes over debt and prices in the past, causing shortages in Europe as well.
Europe gets about 30 percent of its gas from Russia, with half of that transiting through Ukraine.
Moscow turned off the tap to Ukraine in June, but so far gas has continued flowing west without interruption.
Naftogaz owns one of the world’s biggest natural gas networks, with nearly 40,000 kilometres (25,000 miles) of pipelines.
But according to experts, Ukraine’s domestic network is in need of extensive investment.