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US energy giant Chevron's withdrawal from Lithuania is not changing the government's plans regarding shale gas exploration, Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius said on Wednesday, adding that a new call for tenders will be announced this autumn.
Algirdas Butkevičius
Algirdas Butkevičius
© DELFI / Kiril Čachovskij

"There will be no impact on our plans. As you know, the Environment Ministry has been instructed to announce a tender for exploration work as soon as this autumn," Butkevičius told reporters after the Cabinet's meeting.

"We also have the draft amendments that have been approved by the strategic committee and we hope that all the required draft laws will pass the Seimas before the tender is launched. I do see not any problems for individual companies to come and take part in the bidding," he added.

Last year, Chevron withdrew its bid for a license to explore for shale hydrocarbons in western Lithuania. Last week, it divested its stake in the Lithuanian oil company LL Investicijos and closed its office in Vilnius.

Butkevičius has said earlier that Chevron found the environment for doing business in Lithuania unfavourable due to hastily adopted environmental and tax laws.

Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovič has recently told the daily Verslo Žinios that Chevron pulled out because Lithuanian institutions failed to understand the importance of the US company and of alternative energy resources.

The Lithuanian government's strategic committee decided in April that shale gas production would not be taxed in the first three years and then would be subject to a 15-percent tax rate.

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