09 May 2013, News Wires – US supermajor, Chevron, will soon kick off exploration for shale gas in Romania after gaining the required permits on three blocks from the country’s Environment Ministry earlier this month.
Reuters quoted Chevron spokeswoman, Sally Jones, as announcing plans to carry out a 2D seismic study near the Black Sea coast and drill an exploration well farther north in Vaslui county.
“The exploration phase has a multi-year timeframe. The results of the exploration stage will determine, in co-operation with the Romanian government, the commencement of any potential exploitation activities,” Jones stated.
Chevron has rights to explore for shale in three blocks – Costinesti, Vama Veche and Barlad – covering 670,000 acres near the Black Sea and has also acquired the concession in Vaslui for an undisclosed sum.
Though Chevron has not specified when work will start, Environment Minister Rovana Plumb was earlier reported as saying that exploration of the tracts would take at least five years before any assessment of shale deposits could be made.
Shale gas exploitation in Europe has generated controversy due to the process of hydraulic fracturing whereby water and chemicals are injected at high pressure into shale rock to extract hydrocarbons.
While Romania was initially opposed to fracking, the leftist coalition government of Victor Ponta has shifted its stance since gaining power last year and now supports shale exploration in pursuit of energy independence for the country.
However, it has stopped short of approving exploitation of shale wells amid recent protests over exploration due to environmental concerns related to fracking, which is believed to contaminate groundwater and cause earthquakes.
“To reach exploitation we need to see if we have this resource and where we have it,” Plumb said last week.