"In Lithuania, unfortunately, there's a vicious tradition to thoughtlessly oppose everything that's new, including waste burning, dump construction, or exploration of shale gas," the prime minister said in a statement on Monday.
The Social Democratic leader said that because of this tendency, "any bigger and more important projects become impossible and at the same time potential investments, which are a guarantee of wellbeing of a modern state, stall."
Shale gas would allow to cut gas prices, Butkevičius added. Currently, Lithuania buys all gas the country needs from Russian gas company Gazprom.
"If we want to have a an alternative supply of gas and dictate prices for monopolist Gazprom, we need to discuss and consider all opportunities. If shale gas was found in Lithuania, we would have a strong basis to carry out a totally different gas price policy," the Lithuanian premier said.
In the coming months, the Government of Lithuania should make up its mind whether to allow US energy company Chevron to start shale gas exploration in the country. Lithuanian scientists believe there could from 30 to 50 billion cubic meters of shale gas in Lithuania. Currently, the Baltic country imports around 3 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia every year.