Romania has no shale gas, PM says, but Chevron’s not so sure

Victor Ponta
Source: WikiCommons, Partidul Social Democrat

Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta announced on Saturday that, despite initial estimates by the Energy Information Agency (EIA), which put the country’s technically recoverable shale gas resources at 51 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), Romania has no shale gas to speak of.

“It looks like we don’t have shale gas, we fought very hard for something that we do not have,” Ponta told television channel Antena 3. “I cannot tell you more than this but I don’t think we fought for something that existed.”

Despite the Prime Minister’s statement, Chevron – which is the only major E&P company involved in shale exploration in Romania – said that it has not yet completed the assessment of Romania’s natural gas potential from shale.

“Chevron is analysing the data gathered during its drilling and seismic operations to further understand the resource potential of natural gas from shale,” Chevron told Reuters.

“When the analysis has been completed, the results will be provided to the National Agency of Mineral Resources (NAMR) and will remain in the (Romanian) state’s custody.”

Chevron holds rights to three licence blocks in Romania near the Black Sea. It has also recently completed drilling in the village of Pungesti, in eastern Romania, where it faced ongoing protests from the local residents.

Unlike many other ex-Eastern Block countries, which rely on Russian gas for up to 100 per cent of  their energy needs, Romania imports only a fifth of its gas from Russia. According to the EIA, Romania has the fifth-largest natural gas reserves in Europe with 3.7 Tcf of proved reserves as of January 1, 2014.

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