Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius has played down Chevron's statement that the US energy giant is no longer interested in exploring for shale gas in Lithuania, saying that he expects other investors to come to the country.
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

"I am leaving for the United States next week. I will meet with members of the shale gas association. I believe that the simplified procedure for potential bidders will enable some other companies to take part," Butkevičius said on the radio Žinių Radijas on Thursday.

"I have not seen any such statement, but I have heard something about that. We live in a global market and if one company does not come, then another will come. There is no tragedy about it," he said.

In October 2013, Chevron withdrew its bid for a shale gas exploration license in Lithuania, citing changes in fiscal, legislative and regulatory climate as the reason. The US company has divested its 50 percent stake in LL Investicijos, a local oil exploration company, and closed its office in Lithuania.

A Chevron representative told BNS on Monday that the group was no longer interested in exploring for shale gas in Lithuania "as the opportunities here could no longer compete favorably with other opportunities in our global portfolio".

Lithuanian Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas has said that a new tender for shale gas and oil exploration may be issued next spring after parliament passes legislative amendments that provide for taxing shale hydrocarbon production in Lithuania at a 1-percent rate in the first three years.

When the first tender for exploration and production of unconventional hydrocarbons was launched last year, it was said that Lithuania could have between 100 billion and 200 billion cubic meters of shale gas.

However, Juozas Mockevičius, the then director of the Lithuanian Geological Survey, said in July 2013 that what could be found in the country was shale oil, not shale gas.

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