MR. ROMAN, THE OPERATION OF THE SERVICE UNDER YOUR LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN DRASTICALLY REORGANIZED. WHAT ACHIEVEMENT DO YOU CONSIDER THE MOST IMPORTANT IN THIS AREA?
When I took charge of the State Service of Geology and Subsoil of Ukraine, the Service was associated exclusively with corruption. My task was to change this negative trend. We have become more open, created a number of convenient services and offered our help and support to subsoil users. A new service has been launched - the Single Subsoil User Point of Contact with the specialists of the Service consulting five days a week on the preparation of a package of documents for changes, extension of special permits. Thanks to the Single Point of Contact, we could reduce the number of failures because of incorrect or incomplete package of documents. Now I can say that we really managed to regain confidence in the Service, which is the greatest achievement of the last year. The State Service of Geology and Subsoil of Ukraine is a transparent service body that not only regulates the extractive industry in Ukraine, but also provides quality services to subsoil users.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU EXPECT TO DO FOR FURTHER REORGANIZATION OF GEOLOGICAL ENTERPRISES?
Unfortunately, in recent years the geological industry in Ukraine has been catastrophically underfunded. At the same time, some state-owned geological enterprises are unprofitable and being subsidized from the state budget. Unfortunately, the audit are disappointing, but we understand that it is important to preserve as much as possible the scientific and human resources that are available at these enterprises. To do this, we have in plan cluster optimization of some geological enterprises and consolidation of others, thereby preserving strategically important facilities and easing their financial burden. Some enterprises will have to be transferred to the State Property Fund for privatization.
MUCH HAS ALSO BEEN DONE TO REMOVE BUREAUCRATIC BARRIERS FOR SUBSOIL USERS. IN PARTICULAR, WE MANAGED TO IMPROVE THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK. ARE THERE ANY PLANS FOR FURTHER WORK IN THIS DIRECTION?
Together with the industry experts and lawmakers, we have developed the bill No.4187 "On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine to Support the Development of National Subsoil Use Industries" http://w1.c1.rada.gov.ua/pls/zweb2/webproc4_1?pf3511=70117 to be considered in parliament next week. This legislative initiative is aimed to reform the industry, provide conditions for the introduction of transparent and clear mechanisms of work for all producers. It was discussed with business associations and large companies and received the support of the President of Ukraine. Reforming the industry and modernizing the legal framework is the important priority for the current year.
THE LONG-AWAITED SIGNING OF THE PSA TOOK PLACE AT THE END OF LAST YEAR. TELL US PLEASE ABOUT THIS LONG PATH..... WHAT WORK IN THIS DIRECTION IS TO BE MADE IN THE CURRENT YEAR?
We entered into eight production sharing agreements with the winners of the tenders, which is a big step for the whole industry, because, according to the terms of the signed agreements, investors are obliged to invest about USD 360 million in oil and gas fields only at the development stage, not to mention further investments. The signing of these agreements is the important event for the industry and a powerful stimulus for the development of the entire Ukrainian economy. After all, it will result in enhancing hydrocarbon recovery, creating new jobs, increasing fiscal charges at all levels and reducing oil and gas imports in a decade. For the next year it is planned to create a separate department within the Service to deal with and support the PSAs. The winning companies we signed agreements with shall during the year meet the preconditions for the signed agreements to take effect.
WHAT, IN YOUR OPINION, WILL BE ABLE TO INTEREST NEW POTENTIAL INVESTORS IN THE NEAR FUTURE?
Demand for so-called "metals of the future" used for innovative technologies is growing rapidly around the world. At the same time, they are practically not developed in Ukraine. A similar situation appears with the metals of the low-carbon future for high-tech industries. It is important nowadays to increase their production, as well as to create facilities for their enrichment and primary processing. The available resources and prospects for the development of minerals of the future will allow the development of new modern industries in Ukraine. This demonstrates their strategic importance for Ukraine to act in a new role in the international arena. We prepared and offered for auction objects with deposits of lithium, titanium, nickel, cobalt, chromium, tantalum, niobium, beryllium, zirconium, scandium, molybdenum, gold – it is for the first time that deposits with such minerals can be purchased at open electronic auctions. And I'm sure there will be a demand for these objects.
We also plan to put up for auction this year 100 new objects with deposits of minerals of interest to subsoil users: amber, sand, groundwater, granite, etc.
DIGITIZATION OF GEOLOGICAL INFORMATION AND SIMPLIFICATION OF ACCESS FOR SUBSOIL USERS TO THE SERVICES OF THE SERVICE - WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN DONE AND WILL BE DONE IN THESE AREAS?
Our three invariable priorities are restoration of confidence in the Service, raising of investments in the industry and increasing the efficiency of subsoil use. In 2020, the Service was the only center for calculating geoinformation and the initial cost of special permits; we have developed a new method of calculating them and a convenient online calculator. All these steps are aimed at digitalizing processes in dealing with the subsoil user and easing the interaction between business and the state, making it more transparent and predictable. We are currently engaged in creating online subsoil user's office and are preparing to launch an interactive map of special permits.