Chevron gets exploratory drilling permit for shale gas in Romania

Newsroom 28/01/2013 | 15:28

The county council in Vaslui awarded last December Chevron the right to drill an exploratory well for shale gas in a locality within the Barlad concession that covers some 600,000 hectares in North East Romania.

Chevron will drill its first exploratory well in the Paltinis village, within the Bacesti locality in rural Vaslui.

People in this region took to the streets three times last year to protest the exploitation of shale gas through franking.

Dumitru Buzatu, president of the Vaslui county council, said that Chevron’s permitting is legal.

“If we hadn’t approved a legal request, we would have been accused on misfeasance. Those that are commenting now have granted the concession and made the Chevron request possible. We have just approved it, something which is perfectly legal,” said Buzatu, quoted by Agerpres newswire.

Buzatu is a member of the left-wing party PSD and participated in one of the protests last year, when his party was in opposition.

PM Victor Ponta recently said that alternative gas sources – shale and offshore – represent a strategic choice that can cut Romania’s dependency on Russian gas imports.

Chevron's shale gas exploration concessions in RomaniaChevron shale gas concessions in Romania

“If we can have alternative gas sources, outside the conventional sources, offshore and shale, in they meet EU environmental standards, I am for this,” said the PM on Friday during an interview for the news portal hotnews.ro

The PM said that shale gas boom helped the US restart its economy by turning it into a gas exporter.
The ruling center-left coalition USL decaled a moratorium last year on the exploitation of shale gas until Europe assessed the potential impact on the environment. The PM has faced some opposition in his cabinet on shale gas.

The Economy minister, Varujan Vosganian, recently said the exploration of shale gas would compromise the image of the seaside. Chevron was awarded in 2010 three exploration blocks in the Dobrogea region – close to the Black Sea – that covers around 270,000 hectares.

“Are they really on the seaside, on the beach, near the hotels? I doubt it,” commented the PM.

Chevron has shale gas operations in Romania, Poland, America and Canada.

Ovidiu Posirca

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