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AMSTERDAM (AP) - Royal Dutch Shell PLC says it has signed a 50-year profit sharing deal with the government of Ukraine to explore and drill for natural gas in shale rock formations in the east of the country using the process widely known as "fracking."

Ukraine's Energy Minister Eduard Stavitsky said investment in the project may reach $10 billion. Shell spokeswoman Julia Dudley Friday sent a joint statement issued by Shell and Ukraine's state-owned Nadra Yuzivska LLC, stating each will have a 50 percent interest.

For Ukraine, the deal is important both for economic development and to reduce its dependence on Russia for gas supplies.

Shell didn't say how much money it hopes to make. It plans to drill wells in areas near Donetsk and Kharkiv "believed to hold substantial natural gas."


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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