Roman Storozhev, president of the Association “Subsoil Users of Ukraine” commented on the progress in improving the access to the geological information and challenges faced by the Government in this area.
What changes in the sphere of geological information have been made in the recent years?
Recent changes in the access to the geological information was made in October 2014. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine introduced changes to the Regulation on the usage of geological information. The amendments cancelled the form of the decision of the expert commission of State Service of Geology and Mineral Resources of Ukraine on the possibility of export of geological information. This has simplified the procedure.
Besides today you can get online the information about the companies, which received special permits for the use of subsoil assets, the information on the respective licensed areas and permits validity terms. This information is available on the website of SE “Geoinform” and contains detailed data about the licensed areas: their location, type of minerals, the total amount of reserves at the time of granting special permits for subsoil use, the degree of development of mineral resources, funding sources and the cost of geological information.
What are the perspectives of digital geological information databases creation in Ukraine?
The work on the creation of digital databases has already begun. In October 2014 the relevant section “Subsoil Use: objects for investments” was created on the site of SE “Geoinform”. In this section any company, regardless of its location, can find information about the field, its location, area, minerals, estimated mineral assets volume. This section also contains a general map and recommendations for the extraction or the need for further geological exploration. Calculations on the volume of necessary investments have also been made for some areas.
The publication of such information online has just begun. The database already contains information about the deposits of metallic and non-metallic minerals. There are no data on hydrocarbons deposits yet, but this is what should appear in the future. Hydrocarbon deposits are the most popular with investors. Previously, data was stored on paper, now it has to be digitized. The project, which is now being realized by SE “Geoinform”, will last for three years.
In addition, the State Service of Geology and Mineral Resources of Ukraine began publishing on its web-site the information about existing mineral deposits, which are not currently developed. The information for each field contains information about the form of the minerals, the name of the field and geo-references. I think that this is the beginning of creation a full-scale geographic information system in accordance with European standards, which in the future will allow a potential investor to obtain quickly an open geological information about a particular field, which will help to make a decision about investing and predicting different risks.
What further steps should be taken in the sphere of geological information?
Geological information – above all is a strategic asset of the state, good governance of which will attract investments in the sector of subsoil use. By creating a digital database, you can simplify and streamline the access to geological information, and resolve the issue of database storage. The examination of available geological information is the first step in evaluating investment decisions with regard to potential mineral assets development. Therefore, it is very important in the first stage of cooperation to prepare scientific and informational support of geological projects. After all, complete and accessible geological information enables subsoil users – both public and private – to make the most effective investment program, a work plan, and helps to ensure the best possible and efficient exploitation of hydrocarbons. Thus, in the next year or two it is necessary to complete the digitization of geological data, convert them into technically advanced database, which, in consequence, could be integrated into the investment proposals of Ukraine. For the development of gas production in Ukraine, and creating more attractive environment for investors,it is necessary to ensure the availability of geological information, bringing it into line with international standards by creating a digital database of geological information on prospective hydrocarbon areas in the territory of Ukraine. This work will provide new opportunities for cooperation between the state and subsoil users.
What initiatives in the field of geological information supports the Association of the subsoil users?
Our association is studying the experience of the leading EU countries and other resource-rich countries with respect to governing and control of the mineral resource base. These findings will be useful during the development and public discussion of the new edition of the Subsoil Code of Ukraine, which is currently under development. Leading European experience enables the industry to ensure transparency, to establish acceptable to all industry players and stable conditions for participation in the development of Ukrainian subsoil assets. Particularly, at this stage the Association “Subsoil Users of Ukraine” is actively involved in the implementation of the international EITI reporting standards in Ukraine. In our opinion, this is the first and very important step for the development of public-private partnerships in order to ensure transparency in the industry. The introduction of such a mechanism will give an impetus and motivation to improve cooperation between subsoil users and government, including on access to geological information.
Association “Subsoil users of Ukraine” was founded in 2008 with the aim of creating an effective, innovation-oriented system of geological study and renewal of the mineral resource base necessary to meet the needs of the national economy, ensuring energy and resource security. The Association consists of mining companies, geological profile public organizations, professional legal institution. The primary tasks, that over 6 years of operation solves the association, are to promote the development of modern structurally integrated and unified legal framework, primarily single Code on mineral resources of Ukraine, in order to improve the outdated rules of the Code, as well as water, forest and land legislation.