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Lithuania Delays Declaration of Chevron as Shale Gas Exploration Winner Due to Protests

Posted on the 27 February 2013 by Earth First! Newswire @efjournal

Lithuania delays declaration of Chevron as shale gas exploration winner due to protests

Cross Posted from KyivPost

Vilnius – Because of public protests, the Lithuanian Environment Ministry has delayed a meeting of the Commission for Hydrocarbon Resource Exploitation scheduled for Wednesday, where American energy concern Chevron might have been announced the winner of a shale gas exploration tender.

The ministry said in a press release that Environment Minister Valentinas Mazuronis asked Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius to express the government’s opinion regarding the next move of the commission, which was formed by the previous government.

“I would once again like to say that I have said it more than once before – any decision on shale gas will not be made hastily. We need to not only await the results of research by a group of scientists, but also keep in mind the possible environmental impacts and assess the experience of other states,” Mazuronis is quoted as saying in the press release.

The commission should decide whether to acknowledge the proposals by Chevron Exploration & Production Lietuva and Diseta as suitable. In this case, the companies would be declared the winners and given permission to start exploring oil and gas resources in the western part of Lithuania.

Chevron Exploration & Production Lietuva wants to search for clay shale at the Silute-Taurage section in western Lithuania, while Diseta, which was founded at the end of last October, wants to prospect for shale at the Kudirkos-Kybartai section.

On Tuesday, around 100 opponents of shale gas production in Lithuania gathered at the government building in Vilnius. Butkevicius, who met with the protestors, said that shale gas exploration and production will not take place without the approval of the locals. He stressed, however, that the tender in which Chevron and Diseta took part is not going to be stopped.

In political circles within the country, an idea has emerged and is under discussion about holding a referendum on shale hydrocarbon exploration and production in the country.

Lithuanian scientists think that the country may possess between 30 and 50 billion cubic meters (bcm) of shale gas suitable for production. Lithuania imports around 3 bcm of natural gas from Russia every year

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