"First of all, government officials or the prime minister are not taking part in any negotiations. It is only the (tender) commission that can take part. This is a pack of lies. Neither the environment minister nor the prime minister can interfere with the selection of the winner. It is absolutely untrue," he told the radio station Laisvoji Banga on Wednesday.
Chevron decided to withdraw its bid to explore for shale gas in Lithuania due to strict environmental and gas exploration regulations passed by the Seimas (parliament), Butkevičius said.
"Based on the latest information available to me, during the course of the tender, the Seimas adopted legislation, which, in their opinion, worsened the situation for investors," he said.
According to BNS sources, Chevron warned the government back in May that it could withdraw its bid due to the changing legislation, but the authorities took no steps.
Chevron said in its letter to state institutions that legislation was changed even after the company was named the winner of the tender on September 16.
"In addition to other legislation, a number of pieces of legislation were adopted even after September 16, 2013, when Chevron was named the winner of the tender. Looking at the situation from the viewpoint of any rational investor, it is obvious that the investment and regulatory climate influencing the economic potential of the Šilutė-Tauragė block has changed substantially since the day of submission of our bid," it said.
According to the Vz.lt news website, Chevron pulled out of the project not only because of the uncertain investment environment, but also because of complete inaction of the government. After being named the winning bidder, the US company had to communicate with negotiators with no authority, as the prime minister and the environment minister had no time for this matter due to their busy travel schedule, a source said.