Romania will not exploit shale gas at least in the next five years – the country’s Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced yesterday.
“For the time being and in the next five years, not a single cubic metre of shale gas will be exploited in Romania,” said the prime minister to Radio Romania Actualitati, explaining that “in the next five years, Romania has to set in place the best performing and most up-to-date environmental protection legislation, so that we may have all the guarantees in place if shale gas will really be exploited in five years’ time.”
“If we do not have gas from domestic production, we will buy it from Gazprom, because there is no other gas producer in the region selling gas,” Ponta said, stressing that “Romania securing energy independence for itself and Moldova is such important an objective that by all means, yet in compliance with the highest environmental standards, but by all means to have such resources from the Black Sea or elsewhere in Romania, we have to use them.”
“We should not ignore them so as to come to depend on Russia for natural gas,” underlined the head of government.
This latest development might come as a surprise, since only a week earlier, American giant Chevron – which holds licenses on five shale deposit sites in Romania – announced that it obtained permission to start exploratory drilling in Urdes, a village in the eastern district of Vaslui.
Romania issued a memorandum on shale gas exploration in 2010 which was subsequently lifted in March 2013. However there seems to be no support for fracking among the Romanian people, with anti-fracking protests staged several times in the past, both in the capital Bucharest and on the Cheveron drilling sites.
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