Linas Balsys, the chairman of the Lithuanian Green Party and a member of the Seimas (parliament), on Tuesday dismissed allegations that Gazprom might have had a hand in local communities' opposition to shale gas projects.
"Speculations about Gazprom's influence are not new. We've been hearing this since the time of the nuclear power plant referendum. When there are no other arguments, some try to see the Russian hand, its influence," he said at a news conference.
Jonas Nairanauskas, the chairman of the community of Žygaičiai (Tauragė District, west Lithuania), where Chevron is planning to explore for shale gas, said that he categorically distanced himself from suspicions about Gazprom's influence.
"I have no connection and never had with Gazprom, and see no need to have it," he said.
Balsys said that he doubted if Chevron would be able to reach agreement with local communities by Friday, when the Environment Ministry is expected to give a green light for the US company to explore for and extract shale gas in western Lithuania.