Chevron seeks to play down Romanian shale gas exploration fears
London (Platts)--5Apr2012/754 am EDT/1154 GMT
Chevron has yet to begin exploration drilling onshore Romania, and has
no plans to use hydraulic fracturing techniques, or fracking, there in the
near future, the company said Thursday.
In the past week controversy has emerged over speculation Chevron would
use fracking at its four exploration blocks in Romania, which has prompted
popular resistance from communities in the region.
At its northeastern Barlad block, Chevron has carried out seismic work,
but has yet to drill any wells, the company said.
Chevron said it hoped it could present its case for the exploitation of
shale gas for the benefit of Romania.
"We understand the concerns related to natural gas exploitation from
shale formations in Romania," Chevron's country manager for Romania, Tom
Holst, said in a statement.
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"We believe that by presenting factual information on how these
technologies are conducted, Romanians will understand that this natural gas
is a clean source of energy and that it can be produced safely and
responsibly," Holst said.
However, Chevron stressed that no drilling has taken place in Romania
yet, refuting reports in the local press.
"We have not begun exploratory drilling in Romania yet; it is planned
for the second half of 2012. And it will be conventional gas drilling, not
hydraulic fracking," a spokesman said.
Chevron believes Romania will still allow shale gas exploration.
"Many governments, including the one of Romania, have expressed their
interest in the exploitation of gas from shale, as long as this process can
be conducted safely and responsibly," Holst said.
"Chevron is ready to assist Romania in uncovering new energy sources,
with a significant potential at national level. In Vaslui county, Chevron is
in the process of initial permitting for a conventional exploration well in
Chevron took over the Barlad concession in northeastern Romania in 2010
from the UK's Regal Petroleum, and was also awarded three onshore blocks in
the Constanta area in southeast Romania: Block 17 (Costinesti), Block 18
(Vama Veche) and Block 19, (Adamclisi).
"It is a priority for Chevron to ensure that factual information is
shared to help inform the public and policymakers on plans to explore for gas
in Constanta County," Holst said.
He said no field activity is currently underway in the county and the
only future activity in the next 12 months would be a standard seismic data
survey, similar to other such standard surveys done in Romania.
"Such a survey will be designed and permitted to avoid areas of high
cultural value, cities and villages and sensitive environmental habitats.
Only after such a survey is completed would consideration be made to
locate and permit a standard exploration well, again similar to many
routinely drilled wells in Romania. An exploitation project would be a
consideration after the exploration activity, which is to be conducted over a
five-year period," Holst said.
Local opposition in Romania has intensified in recent weeks as the
European backlash against shale gas exploration spreads.
Chevron was already hit earlier in the year when the Bulgarian
government introduced a ban on shale gas exploration using fracking, dealing
a blow to the US company's plans to get started at its 4,400 sq km Novi Pazar
block in the northeast of the country.
Chevron has expanded its shale exploration presence in Europe in recent
In addition to Romania and Bulgaria, Chevron also has four exploration
concessions in the southeast of Poland, considered Europe's most prospective
country for shale gas development.
It is also said to be considering investing in shale gas production in
Chevron also closed in February 2011 the $3.2 billion acquisition of
Atlas Energy, giving it a shale gas acreage position in the Marcellus Shale
in southwestern Pennsylvania.
--Stuart Elliott, firstname.lastname@example.org