Romania’s Environment Ministry has granted exploration rights for US-based Chevron, in three perimeters along the Black Sea coast, arguing there is no risk for the environment in this stage.
Rovana Plumb, the environment minister, said on Moday, the exploration works will take at least five years, before any assessment of the shale deposits can be made.
“As long as Romanian shale gas is not explored through hydraulic fracturing (fracking), it doesn’t raise any risk for the environmental protection,” said Plumb quoted by Agerpres newswire.
According to the Environment Ministry, the company plans to drill three wells at depths up to 3,000 – 4,000 meters in Barlad, without resorting to fracking.
The minister said that neighboring Bulgaria has also started exploring shale gas while Poland and Britain have made progress in this sector. She commented that tapping into shale is one of the avenues that EU members can take to achieve energy independence.
Radu Mazare, mayor of Constanta city, said the exploitation of shale gas could lower the heating bills of Constanta inhabitants by up to 25 percent.
“From my understanding, the exploitation doesn’t take place on the coast, but further out inland. I spoke with the Chevron representative and asked him to outline the advantages poised to the local community. He said ‘I understood and will return prepared’ and I am waiting for him,” said Mazare.
The Romanian minister hinted that further licenses may be granted for foreign companies that seek to explore shale gas blocks across the country.