Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite has signaled approval for Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) to pursue shale gas exploration in that country, despite opposition from some factions.
The driving motivation is seen as a desire for Lithuania to shrug off its dependence on Russian natural gas—a dependency Lithuania shares with Ukraine and Poland, both of which are also keenly investigating shale options.
Last October, Chevron purchased 50 percent of Lithuanian oil and gas recovery company LL Investicijos UAB. In January of this year, the company filed for shale gas exploration rights in Lithuania.
But concerns about possible groundwater contamination spread amongst local communities.
“We expect to be able to engage with the local communities” and assuage their concerns, Chevron’s [heads of Eurasia, Europe, and Middle East exploration and production, Jay] Johnson told reporters at the president’s office. “We’re very pleased with the chance to help create Lithuania’s energy future.”
Lithuania could have as much as 180 billion cubic meters of recoverable gas, or enough for the next 60 years at present rates of demand and consumption.
Further, the shale gas is likely much closer to the ground surface than it is in Poland, which should make for smoother operations.
Chevron intends to aid LL Investicijos UAB on well design and exploratory operations. To that end, the company just recently opened an office in Lithuania.