Upcoming Events 2019
US-UA Security Dialogue X
Washington, DC
February 28, 2019
UA HES Special Event:
Sobornist' at 100
Ukrainian Museum
May 4, 2019   
US-UA BNS Special Event
Washington DC
May 23, 2019
US-UA WG Yearly Summit VI
Washington, DC
June 13, 2019

US-UA Energy Dialogue VI
Kyiv, Ukraine
August 29, 2019 
UA HES Special Event:
UA-AM Community at 125
Princeton Club/NY
September 21, 2019 
Washington, DC
October 10, 2019
LT-PL-UA Relations
November 9, 2019   

CUSUR 2016 - Project I
US-UA “Working Group” Initiative

The US-Ukraine “Working Group” Initiative was launched in 2007 in order to secure an array of experts in "areas of interest” for CUSUR and its various forums/proceedings; at the same time, it was hoped that the ‘experts’ might agree to write a series of ‘occasional papers’ to identify “major issues” impacting on US-Ukrainian relations.
CUSUR 2017 - Project II
Publication Efforts

Recognizing the urgent need to set up proper channels for the maximum circulation of the information/analysis CUSUR possessed or had at its disposal, the Center long focused on having ‘a publication presence’ of some form or another.
CUSUR 2018 - Project III
DC Occasional Briefings Series

CUSUR did not turn its attention to having a DC presence until summer 2012. Borrowing space when the need arose (particularly for various forum steering committees meetings) from the American Foreign Policy Council, its longest abiding partner, seemed to suffice; an Acela ride from the Center’s NY office did the rest. If there was a concern, it was to open an office in Kyiv.
Ukraine-International Energy Roundtable held in Houston

Ukraine-International Energy Roundtable

Ukraine-International Energy Roundtable held in Houston

Adrianna Melnyk

(Originally published in The Ukrainian Weekly)

New York—On May 4, 2006, while at the Vilnius Conference, a gathering of leaders from the Baltic and Black Sea regions, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney made a speech in which he warned that the Kremlin was backtracking on the democratic progress it had made in the past 15 years and using its vast energy reserves as “tools of intimidation and blackmail”. “No legitimate interest is served when oil and gas become tools of intimidation and blackmail, either by supply manipulation or attempts to monopolize transportation,” Cheney said, alluding to Russia’s January 1st decision to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine, and as a result, to the rest of Europe.

The echoes of his statements reverberated throughout the region and the United States, with some Russian media saying his criticisms marked the dawn of a new cold war, and comparing his speech to that of Sir Winston Churchill’s 1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri, when he warned of an "Iron Curtain", or the 1945 Yalta conference where Europe's post-war map was drawn up. Both Russian government-controlled and independent media reacted with alarm. Cheney’s speech was delivered in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius to the Community of Democratic Choice, the nine-country group of former Soviet republics and satellites set up by Georgia and Ukraine, a fact whose significance was not lost on Russia.

The Russian President’s reaction was more restrained, but it was clear from an earlier-in-the-week announcement that the Kremlin had signed a multi-million dollar deal with the US-based Ketchum Communications (a top public relations firm) to shore up Russia’s image prior to the July G8 summit in St. Petersburg, that the Kremlin was all too aware of its image problem.

As the Vice President made his speech in Vilnius, over 100 U.S. and Ukrainian energy officials, policymakers, and businesspeople were departing from a three-day Ukraine-International Energy Roundtable, which was held at the Hyatt Regency hotel in downtown Houston from May 1 to May 4.

The conference, whose theme was Strengthening Ukraine’s Energy Diversity, brought together major U.S. and Ukrainian energy corporations and key policymakers from both countries, including Matt Bryza, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Volodymyr Ihnaschenko, Deputy Minister of the Economy of Ukraine, Al Frink, U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Manufacturing and Services, Kseniya Lyapina, Member of Parliament and Advisor to President Yushchenko, and Head of the Council of Entrepreneurs at the Cabinet of Ministries of Ukraine, Rachel Halpern, International Trade Specialist, U.S. Department of Commerce, Vasyl Rohovyj, Deputy Secretary for Economic Security, National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, Pavlo Kachur, Minister of Building, Architecture, and Housing of Ukraine, and Oleksander Todiychuk, Chairman of Ukrtransnafta.

Energy corporations taking part in the roundtable included Aspect Energy, Alternative Fuels Center of Ukraine, ATG Inc., Cardinal Resources, Chevron, Conoco Phillips, Donbas Fuel Energy Company, Exxon Mobil, Halliburton, Nova Energia, Shell, Ukrgazvydobyvannya, Ukrtransnafta, and Vanco. Also represented were firms providing services to energy companies, including Chadbourne and Parke, the U.S. Export Import Bank, the Ukrainian Export Import Bank, and the Russian-Ukrainian Legal Group.

The event was the largest international gathering so far this year focused on enhancing Ukraine's energy diversity, and was organized by the Orange Circle, the Center for US Ukrainian Relations, and the newly-formed Ukraine International Business Council, with the cooperation of Ukraine's energy, industry, and economics ministries, and with the support of Ukraine's Presidential Secretariat.

The opening dinner on May 1st, held in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, featured welcoming remarks from Oleh Shamshur, Ukraine’s Ambassador to the United States, Robert Bensh, Chairman, Cardinal Resources and a principal underwriter of the event, and Vasyl Rohovyj, Deputy Secretary for Economic Security of Ukraine. All three speakers underscored the importance of joint U.S.-Ukrainian cooperation in the energy sector, and the strategic importance of such cooperation. Underlying their remarks was the recognition that the events of early 2006 have posed new challenges for Ukraine and have placed the energy issue at the forefront of policy-making on both the U.S. and Ukrainian sides, and that price hikes for natural gas and short-term interruptions present opportunities for mutual initiatives aimed at increasing energy exploration, diversifying energy sources, and increasing energy efficiency.

The morning session of May 2nd opened with remarks from Walter Zaryckyj, Executive Director of the Center for U.S.-Ukrainian Relations in New York and one of the organizers of the roundtable, whose introduction led into the first panel of the day, Energy Exploration and Energy Production in Ukraine. The panel was moderated by The Honorable Bob Schaffer, Projects Director, Aspect Energy, (note the and after Energy is out) former U.S. Congressman from Colorado and former co-chairman of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus. Panelists included Borys Syniuk, Ukrgazvydobyvannya, and Julia Nanay, PFC Energy.

Ms. Nanay, whose firm provides strategic advisory for global energy companies, spoke of the large potential for Ukrainian oil exploration, saying that there are proven undeveloped onshore and offshore resources, which “if developed, will compensate for price hikes at least in the short-term”. However, she also warned of several key concerns for IOCs (International Oil Companies) interested in the country, including 1) Data Availability 2) Transparency and 3) Investment Security, saying that “all three of these have to be addressed to attract IOC investment and exploration in Ukraine”. She presented seven “signposts”, or indicators related to the aforementioned concerns, and suggested that their pulse be taken now, and that progress be measured and presented at the next roundtable.

The barriers to investment named by Ms. Nanay were themes touched upon by many of the presenters and discussants throughout the conference. In particular, concern over the lack of transparency was raised both by Ukrainian and U.S. conference participants. In his remarks, Ambassador Keith Smith, now Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington D.C., spoke of how real or perceived lack of transparency in the Ukrainian energy sector can have widespread implications for international attitudes towards Ukraine. Regarding the January 2006 gas deal signed with Russia, many unanswered questions remain. “The United States government”, he said, “and that of the EU, want to know why Ukraine did not take the 2004 agreement to arbitration. Why did the Prime Minister not know about the deal? Why weren’t the protocols made public? And was the agreement signed for four months or five years?”

According to Ambassador Smith, this lack of transparency has caused great concern in the United States about President Yushchenko’s government. He believes that the investigation into RosUkrEnergo will continue, and that it is incumbent on and necessary for Ukraine to send high-level delegations to Brussels and to all the EU capital cities to explain relations with Russia and to present plans for improving transparency within the energy and other sectors. “It is critical for Ukraine to travel to Brussels to drum up support – the timing is good because Europe sees a new threat from Russia,” he said.

Many participants raised questions about Ukraine's Energy 2030 plan, which was recently presented by the Ukrainian government. Ukrainian government officials present at the conference responded that the plan is currently a work-in-progress, and that “for it to be a national plan, it must be approved by Parliament”. “The plan is a draft,” said Minister Rohovyj, “it needs to be discussed and revised.” He went on to say that “the plan is not meant to be filed away, it is just the beginning”. Many of those present spoke of the need to include in the Energy 2030 plan measures to combat lack of transparency and corruption. Dr. Irina Paliashvili, President & Senior Counsel of the Russian-Ukrainian Legal Group P.A., acknowledged the importance of the plan, but also stated that she has seen it, and that it “lacks information about attracting foreign investment and improving transparency.” Ambassador Smith stated that for the plan to be actionable, “it needs high level support in Brussels and the EU.”

Other panels throughout the day included Energy Pipeline and Distribution Systems; Meeting Ukraine’s Energy Challenges: Views from Ukraine’s New Parliament; Energy Efficiency and Conservation Policy; Financing Ukraine’s Energy Diversification; and a series of Business-to-Business Breakout Sessions focused on Oil and Gas, Alternative Fuel, and Energy Financing.

Ministers present from Ukraine responded to questions from U.S. energy firms and investors, noting that progress is being made on several fronts. In his talk on Energy Efficiency and Conservation Policy, Minister Kachur spoke of discussions underway with the IFC and EBRD to improve efficiency of Ukraine’s end users of energy – consumers, hospitals, schools, and other “social network” institutions. Ukraine is currently one of the least efficient consumers of energy in Europe: For every dollar's worth of industrial production, Ukraine consumes about two and a half times as much energy as does Poland, for example. Volodymyr Kasyanov, Director of the Alternative Fuels Center in Kyiv, agreed, saying that his organization’s focus “is and will continue to be on alternative and renewable energy sources.” Volodymyr Ihnaschenko, Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of the Economy, stated that he “fully expects that the new coalition government will make financing and privatization a priority of its policymaking.”

The first day of the conference ended with a Texas-style barbeque hosted by Gene Van Dyke in the open-air party pavilion at his River Oaks Houston estate. Mr. Van Dyke is Founder and Chairman of Vanco Energy, a privately held Houston-based oil and gas company that specializes in deep-water oil and gas exploration and development. Just days before, it was announced that Vanco had emerged the winner from a short list of seven companies that tendered for the right to conclude a Production Sharing Agreement (PSA) with the Government of Ukraine for the highly prospective Prykerchenska Block in the Black Sea, which has estimated reserves of 30 billion cubic meters. The agreement was the first of its kind, granting rights for deep-water exploration. It is also Ukraine's first Production Sharing Agreement for hydrocarbons.

The final day of the conference featured remarks from Matt Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, during a session chaired by Adrian Karatnycky, Founder and President of the New York-based Orange Circle. Mr. Bryza spoke about the U.S. interest in Ukraine’s energy challenges, saying that “there needs to be a broad geopolitical strategy with regard to energy,” and that “for the United States, Ukraine has to make it as a transparent democracy.” Mr. Bryza also addressed the U.S. position towards the European gas market: “The Department of States believes that the European gas market is not functioning properly…there is a big problem in Europe of market distortions resulting from arbitrage and rent-seeking. Gas is being bought from Central Asia at a price of $65 per 1000 cubic meters and sold to Europe at a price of $265.”

He noted that the United States is not “trying to pick a fight with Gazprom” and that the policy is one of “competition, not confrontation.” According to Mr. Bryza, there needs to be an aggressive energy policy and strategy created by Ukraine to address the current challenges. “The U.S. Department of State is not anti-Russian, [we] are anti-monopoly… [but] although the U.S. can provide a vision and political support, Ukraine has to create an environment into which investors must be willing to operate.” Mr. Bryza closed by responding to questions about the upcoming G8 summit to be held in St. Petersburg, saying that “the U.S. government is not scared to broach these issues in July”, but that ultimately, although “U.S. and Ukrainian diplomatic pressure on Russia is possible, internal Ukrainian reform is critical for making the message more credible.”

The final plenary dialogue of the day, Energy Efficiency – Keys to Energy Security and Profitability, with remarks from Maksym Timchenko of Donbas Fuel Energy Company, Walter Derzko, Creative Consortium, and Valeriy Borovyk, Nova Energia.

The conference closed with a luncheon chaired by George Chopivksy, Chairman of the newly-formed Ukraine-International Business Council. Rachel Halpern of the United States Department of Commerce closed with remarks about the role of the Department of Commerce, via the International Trade Administration, in facilitating and promoting U.S.–Ukrainian business development, trade and investment though market research, partner matching, and two-way policy and trade missions.

The steering committee of the conference was comprised of three organizations: The Center for US-Ukrainian Relations (CUSUR), Executive Director of which is Walter Zaryckyj, the Orange Circle, whose Founder and President is Adrian Karatnycky, and the Ukraine International Business Council (UIBC), whose Chairman is George Chopivsky. Marta Kostyk of CUSUR was the Logistics Coordinator, Adrianna Melnyk, Director of Research and Outreach of the Orange Circle, served as Outreach Coordinator, and Andriy Bihun of UIBC handled Corporate Outreach. Significant assistance was also provided by Mykola Hryckowian of CUSUR and Luda Lozowy of the Orange Circle.


Past Highlight Events

RT XVII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XVII: Ukraine & Religious Freedom, held in Washington, DC on Oct. 27, 2016
UA HES SE: UA 25th B-Day
Highlights from UA HES Special Event: 'Commemorating the 25th Anniversary of the Modern Ukrainian State', held at the NY Princeton Club on Sept. 17, 2016
US-UA WG YS IV Highlights
Highlights from US-UA WG Yearly Summit IV: Providing Ukraine with an Annual Report Card, held at the University Club in Washington, DC on June 16, 2016
US-UA SD VII Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue VII held on February 25, 2016 in Washington DC
UA HES SE: WW2 Legacy
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: 'Contested Ground': The Legacy of WW2 in Eastern Europe, held in Edmonton on October 23-24, 2015
Holodomor SE Highlights
Highlights from the UA Historical Encounters Special Event: Taking Measure of the Holodomor, held at the Princeton Club of NY on November 5-6, 2013
US-UA SD III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Security Dialogue III held on May 19, 2012 in Chicago, IL

  • Former UA Foreign Minister Volodymyr Ohryzko's keynote
UEAF Forum VI Highlights
Highlights from UEAF Forum VI, held in Ottawa, Canada on March 7-8, 2012
RT XII Items of Note
Highlights from Ukraine's Quest for Mature Nation Statehood RT XII: PL-UA & TR-UA, held in Washington, DC on Oct 19–20, 2011
US-UA ED III Items of Note
Highlights from US-Ukraine Energy Dialogue III, held in Washington DC
on April 15-16, 2008
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