Lithuanian Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas is sceptical about the prospects for a new shale gas exploration tender and does not rule out that the government might postpone the launch of the procedure again.
Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas
© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

"We have agreed with the energy minister to meet next week, sum up all available information and then go to the government with a proposal. As far as I know, there isn't much optimism. Thus, the launch of the tender process may be put off again," he told BNS on Tuesday.

According to the minister, with global oil and gas prices having fallen noticeably, a tender for a shale gas exploration license may fail to attract any interest.

"Amid a decline in prices in the market, exploration for shale resources, including our deposits, is becoming less significant. Also, we did not receive as much interest from potential investors as we would like to see before launching a tender," he said.

The government last May extended the time limit for launching a new tender for shale oil and gas exploration in the Tauragė-Šilutė block, in western Lithuania, for up to four months. If the authorities decided to put off the tender again, they may set a longer time limit this time, Trečiokas said.

The US energy giant Chevron submitted the sole bid for a shale gas exploration and production license in the first tender in 2012, but it pulled out a year later, citing unfavorable tax and legal environment in Lithuania as the reason.

According to unconfirmed data, Lithuania could have recoverable shale gas reserves of around 100 billion to 120 billion cubic meters.

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