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KIEV (Kyodo) Ukrainian Economics Minister Bohdan Danylyshyn has called on Japan to invest in the exploration of his country’s natural gas and oil resources, saying Tokyo would receive stable supplies of fuel tapped through such cooperation.

The Ukrainian government would begin searching for offshore oil and gas in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea immediately if Japan provided relevant assistance, Danylyshyn said in an interview Tuesday.

Developing energy fields in the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea — two areas believed to have huge energy reserves — is “important” for Ukrainian resources development, he said.

Kiev urgently needs to develop domestic energy sources due to sharp gas price markups by Russia, whose gas monopoly Gazprom has supplied a large part of Ukraine’s annual gas consumption. Ukraine faced a supply crisis Jan. 1 when Gazprom switched off gas to the country.

Kiev wants to attract huge direct investment from Japan by creating a mechanism to compensate foreign investors for any losses they might incur as a result of investing in Ukraine, Danylyshyn said.

A large part of domestically produced natural gas in Ukraine is consumed in heating houses, so Kiev is interested in introducing Japan’s energy conservation technology in a range of fields, including saving energy in heating homes, he said.

If such assistance were provided, Ukraine would consider selling its emission quotas for greenhouse gases to Japan in a stable manner.

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