The exploration for shale gas could become a reality in Romania, as the PM openly backed the idea, after initially delaying all talks on shale gas exploration immediately after taking office in May last year. In an online chat with readers of Hotnews.ro, the PM said he was for shale gas exploration – which could last five years, and for exploitation if it respects all the European and world standards on environment protection.
In December last year, the PM said that making headway on negotiations with Chevron over shale gas will be a priority of the new government. The US oil and gas company is keen to start exploration for shale gas in Romania and the PM’s comments back then sounded favorable to the idea.
The extraction of shale gas by induced hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is causing controversy around the world with concerns that the technique can cause seismic activity and pollute water supplies, among other problems.
The PM warned that Romania might get left behind and struggle to compete if shale gas is not exploited. He also pushed the energy independence issue, claiming that shale gas could potentially reduce the country’s reliance on Russian energy giant Gazprom. He said natural gas from Gazprom can cost up USD 450 per 1000 cubic meters, while figures from Poland suggest shale gas could cost as little as USD 80 per 1000 m3. The low prices in Poland, where shale gas is already exploited, could give Polish companies the competitive edge over Romanian firms, according to the PM. He also highlighted the time it would take for Romania to start extracting shale gas, saying that if work started right now, it would be five years before any gas was extracted.
Meanwhile, Romanian president Traian Basescu also met with Chevron representatives to talk about shale gas exploration in Romania. Chevron received concession agreements in March 2012 for the exploration, development and operation of the Constanta and Vama Veche perimeters. Initially, only conventional technology will be employed and no date was given for the potential shale gas exploration to begin, according to previous data.
The European Commission announced public consultation on unconventional fossil fuels and invited members of the public and stakeholders to contribute to the dialogue on shale gas and its EU future. Consultations are open until March 2013 and more info can be found here.
(photo source: sxc.hu)