The Ukraine government approved a drilling plan for the natural gas resources on the Black Sea continental shelf. While it is only a project, it involves the construction of some drilling units off the Black Sea coast not far from the Serpents Island, which is a subject of dispute with Romania, Segodnia daily informs.

The natural gas deposit is only 50 km east from the Island and by the end of 2008 the plan is to extract some 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas. The cost of the project amounts to 870 million Ukrainian grivna.

The paper reminds that the off the Serpents Island coast the natural gas extraction was constantly postponed by Ukraine because of what Kiev calls the "territorial claims" of Romania. Romanian official argue that the Serpents Island is not an Island per se, but just a rock and that the natural gas resources belong to the Romanian state.

The dispute between the two countries is still being examined by the International Court of Justice.