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Published: 15 january 2013 11:23

Lithuania receives one bid from Chevron in shale gas exploration tender

Gamtinės dujos
BFL nuotr. / Gamtinės dujos

US energy giant Chevron is the sole bidder in an international tender for exploration and production of shale gas and oil in Lithuania, the director of the country's Geological Service confirmed on Tuesday. Another three potential prospectors have placed bids for licenses to explore for conventional hydrocarbons, oil and gas.

The Chevron bid has been submitted by Lithuanian-registered Chevron Exploration & Production Lietuva, which wants to explore for the so-called clay shales in the Šilutė-Tauragė field.

"We have received only four bids, of which three are for the Kudirka-Kybartai field and one for the Šilutė-Tauragė field," Juozas Mockevičius, the director of the Lithuanian Geological Service, told BNS on Monday.

Mockevičius said that the Šilutė-Tauragė field is thought to hold the so-called clay shales, while the Kudirka-Kybartai field is likely to hold only conventional hydrocarbons, oil and gas. However, exploration for shale hydrocarbons in the latter field would not be prohibited, he added.

Chevron Global Energy had previously announced plans to begin exploring for shale gas in Lithuania. The global energy giant purchased a 50-percent stake in LL Investicijos, a local company that has an oil field in western Lithuania, for an undisclosed sum in late October 2012.

The director told BNS earlier that more than ten companies from the United States, Canada and other countries had shown interest in the tender for exploration and production of hydrocarbons in Western Lithuania.

Bids were due by 5 PM on Friday. The tender commission opened the bids on Tuesday.

"If all four bids meet, say, the visual requirements, then they will be forwarded to the Lithuanian Geological Service, as the organizer of the tender, to assess whether they comply with the minimum requirements and the terms and conditions of the tender. The service has 60 days for that, but we will cope with this task faster. We will then pass bids that are not rejected - those complying with the experience, financial and technical capacity and other requirements - on to the tender commission, which will select the winner," he said.

The winner will have to invest at least 80 million litas (EUR 23.2m) in the exploration work in the Šilutė-Tauragė field and at least 16.5 million litas in the Kudirka-Kybartai field, the director said.

The government will have to take a final decision within around three months and contracts with the winners will be signed within another three months. The exploration work may take up to ten years to complete, Mockevičius said.

Minijos Nafta, a local company co-owned by Poland's Lotos, last May started prospecting for shale gas in its license area in Šilutė district. Lotos-owned Lotos Geonafta has also announced intentions to prospect for shale gas.

According to unconfirmed data, Lithuania could have recoverable shale gas reserves of 100 billion to 120 billion cubic meters.

Sally Jones, Chevron's external communications adviser in Europe, Eurasia and the Middle East, told BNS on Tuesday that she cannot comment on the company's business plans.

"As per Chevron's long-standing policy, we don't discuss specific business opportunities," she said in a comment sent to BNS.

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