Kiev cancels licence in hydrocarbon rights dispute

The Ukrainian prime minister cast a shadow over a strategically important hydrocarbon exploration project yesterday, openly accusing a US energy company leading the venture of holding backroom talks with Russia's Gazprom. Announcing her government had repealed an exploration licence off Ukraine's Black Sea coast for Houston-based Vanco Energy, Yulia Tymoshenko also raised the stakes in a long-standing rivalry with Viktor Yushchenko, the president.