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Published: 13 february 2013 12:47

Lithuanian Prime Minister: Finding shale gas would give Lithuania leverage in talks with Gazprom

Dujos
Andriaus Ufarto/BFL nuotr. / Dujos

Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevičius says that extraction of shale gas in Lithuania would, in the long run, pull down prices for natural gas, which the country is now buying from a single supplier, Russia's gas giant Gazprom, and paying the highest price in Europe.

"If we want to have an alternative and secure supply of gas - we have discussed this with (Poland's Prime Minister) Donald Tusk - and dictate prices to Gazprom which now has a monopoly of gas supplies, I think that finding gas in Lithuania would be a great impetus to proceed with an entirely different gas pricing policy," Butkevičius said in an interview to Laisvoji Banga radio on Wednesday morning.

"Poland has prospecting wells even in the most picturesque places," said the Lithuanian prime minister who met with his Polish counterpart and Polish president in Warsaw on Tuesday. Lithuanian anti-shale gas activist say that prospecting for shale gas will ruin Lithuania's landscape.

In his words, the neighboring state is working hard to publicize the project – before exploration, the idea was presented in schools and at meetings with local communities.

Amid lack of information and fears of local communities that shale gas extraction would cause extensive environmental damage, the parliamentary Committee on Environment Protection recently proposed to halt shale gas extraction project in Lithuania.

US energy company Chevron is the only company wishing to explore the deposits of shale gas in Šilutė-Tauragė area in western Lithuania. However, the tender is yet to be completed, and the Lithuanian government has not yet made its decision.

Lithuanian scientists believe the country could have recoverable shale gas reserves of around 30-50 billion cubic meters. Last year, Lithuania imported more than 3 billion cubic meters from the Russian gas concern Gazprom.

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