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News / Chevron rep office receives Lithuanian govt. backing for shale gas exploration

US energy giant Chevron has been backed by the Lithuanian government in its bid to explore
the country’s shale gas reserves. This comes just two weeks after a parliamentary committee recommended a moratorium on the project and called for an investigation into a local company whose principal stockholder is Chevron.

Lithuanian Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovic backed the project after meeting with the head of Chevron’s representative office in Lithuania.

“The government has committed itself to undertake shale gas exploration and, in the future, after suitable preparations, to consider the issue of production,” Neverovic noted, as quoted by Bloomberg. “We have to support new innovative opportunities to reduce the cost of the energy resources we consume.”

Neverovic also underscored the fact that Chevron’s investments would mean more jobs for
Lithuanians, as well as technological improvements in the country’s infrastructure.

Chevron, in turn, promised to meet the highest environmental standards and to engage in active dialog with all groups of society.

Chevron submitted the only bid in a tender for the right to explore the country’s shale gas reserves in January.

On February 8, the parliamentary Committee on Environmental Protection voted to recommend
a moratorium on Chevron’s proposed project out of concerns that it could harm the environment.
It also called on the government to ask prosecutors to defend the public with regard to the activities of LL Investicijos, a local company in which Chevron owns a controlling interest, The Times of Lithuania reports.

Lithuania has been seeking to wean itself off its dependency on Russian oil and gas imports.
The country is believed to have considerable oil and gas reserves in its shale, as well as under its seawaters.

The Ignalina nuclear power plant supplied most of Lithuania’s electricity demand, but was fully shut down in 2009, as it was considered a security concern because of its structural similarity to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. A new nuclear power plant is in the plans, although the managing company is still looking for a strategic investor to fund the costly project.

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