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Lithuania Backs Chevron’s Plan for Shale Gas Exploration

Lithuania’s energy minister publicly restated support for Chevron Corp’s plans to explore for shale gas in the country following criticism of the project from a parliamentary committee earlier this month.

Energy Minister Jaroslav Neverovic backed the project after meeting today with the head of Chevron’s Lithuanian representative office, the ministry in Vilnius said on its website. A parliamentary committee on Feb. 6 called for a moratorium on the project and an investigation into the local company that is 50 percent-owned by Chevron.

Chevron, a U.S. energy company, last year bought 50 percent of LL Investicijos and in January submitted the only bid in a tender for shale-gas exploration rights in Lithuania. The Baltic country wants to join Poland and Ukraine and lower energy costs and dependence on Russian supplies by turning to shale gas.

“The government has committed itself to undertake shale-gas exploration and, in the future, after suitable preparations, to consider the issue of production,” Neverovic said. “We have to support new innovative opportunities to reduce the cost of the energy resources we consume.”

Investments by Chevron would also create jobs and give Lithuania access to new technologies and other know-how, Neverovic said.

Chevron has pledged to abide by the highest environmental and safety standards in its work, and to engage in active dialog with any social groups.

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