- Copyright © 2003 Society of Exploration Geophysicists
Of the 96 geologic provinces that contain practically all the world's known petroleum reserves, four lie in whole or part within Ukraine. According to the ranking of the U.S. Geological Survey World Petroleum Assessment 2000, the Dnieper-Donets Basin is 45th in importance, the Pannonian Basin 71st, the Azov-Kuban Basin 81st, and the North Carpathian Basin 82nd. Why, then, does Ukrainian oil and gas potential not shine more brightly on the petroleum industry's radar screen? The answer lies in a complex history and a no less complicated present. This article can hardly do the subject justice but will, I hope, raise interest and provide a stimulus to more study.
Ukraine was one of the 15 constituent republics of the former USSR. Despite its turbulent history (subjugated by the Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires), its various parts have developed with relative cultural and linguistic homogeneity. Present-day Ukraine, independent since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, is a multiethnic state: Ukrainians make up 78% of its population of more than 48 million. Russians make up another 17% with the rest primarily Belorusians, Romanians, Bulgarians, Poles, Hungarians, and others. Although Russian is still widely used, it is quickly giving way to Ukrainian, which is the official language.
Before 1991 Ukraine was one of the most important industrial and agricultural centers of the former Soviet Union. In the first eight years of independence it suffered huge declines in its GDP. However, since 2000 the economy has been growing consistently and in 2002 the growth in real GDP was 4.1%. Ukraine is in a strategic geographical location, at the intersection of major trans-European transport corridors and trade routes connecting Western Europe and countries of the Middle East and the Russian Federation.
Several Ukrainian universities and technical institutes grant western style bachelor's and master's degrees in …