Once known as the "Breadbasket of Russia", Ukraine is now also Russia's fuel tank. And, one American company has 10 billion reasons to hope nothing goes wrong.
Ukraine sits on 39 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves. That's about one-quarter the world's entire proven reserves. One company that has bet big on Ukraine's natural gas is US-based Chevron.
Back in November 2013, the company signed a 50-year deal with Ukraine's ousted president Viktor Yanukovich. The deal involved developing the Olesska shale gas field with $350 million to $400 million spent on exploratory drilling. The total investment would then go up to $10 billion. Ukraine's then-Energy Minster Stavytsky estimated that as much as 353 billion cubic feet of natural gas could be extracted every year. That translates to roughly $1.7 billion in revenues per year on the upper end given current natural gas prices.
For a company like Chevron, which saw $211.8 billion in revenues last year, $1.7 billion is chump change.
But, given that Chevron's operating income was $27.4 billion, that's nothing to sneeze at, either.
Nonetheless, should Chevron investors worry that a sizeable investment in Ukraine be in jeopardy if the situation with Russia gets worse?
Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson believes that Chevron's stock's long-term technicals are a buy. And, he sees the situation in Ukraine as nothing to worry about, especially compared to other energy companies operating in that country.
"The Chevron is in the far western portion of Ukraine which is the most pro-EU, pro-West," says Talking Numbers contributor Richard Ross, Global Technical Strategist at Auerbach Grayson. "In relation, the Shell shale is in the eastern part of Ukraine, which is not quite as friendly to the Western businessman. So, I think Chevron has a leg up both technically longer-term and perhaps fundamentally."
But, with Chevron's revenues down 5% in 2013 compared to 2012, the company may have other things to worry about than Ukraine, according to CNBC contributor Gina Sanchez, founder of Chantico Global.
"This isn't going to make or break the company," says Sanchez. "This incremental yield of anything that they find in Ukraine isn't going to be the difference between a success and failure for Chevron."
Instead, Sanchez sees Chevron's domestic efforts in oil as being a key driver for its potential growth.
"They're also doing quite a bit of exploration here in North America, not just in fracking," says Sanchez. "They're one of the few companies doing something that's slightly cheaper which is to continue to drill some of these older wells for oil that's still in there. They still have some really bright prospects for the future if they can contain the costs in the immediate-term and boos their margins."
To see the full discussion on Chevron with Ross on the technicals and Sanchez on the technicals, watch the video above.