V. Mazuronis: “The second shale gas resource usage competition must be announced as soon as possible”2014-03-24
During the Hydrocarbon Resource Usage Competition meeting at the end of October 2013, the competition's commission decided to announce a repeat hydrocarbon resource usage competition for the Šilutė-Tauragė area. It was decided that the conditions of the competition and laws regulating prospecting and extraction had to be refined and improved. At the time, Minister of Environment Valentinas Mazuronis encouraged the Lithuanian Geological Survey in charge of the competition's conditions to prepare them without delay.
“I carefully watched the preparation process, and we constantly negotiated various provisions. A number of the applicable laws are currently being worked on, but the remaining part has been handed over to the Government. Our plans indicate that we should be able to announce a repeat shale gas competition by the end of May or June. The question of energy independence is becoming more and more important,” - said V. Mazuronis.
The Ministry of Environment has already evaluated the Republic of Lithuania's oil taxes and their global context and has submitted various versions of potential changes to the Republic of Lithuania's oil and gas tax law. These submissions were discussed with various concerned economic subjects and institutions. The ministry has also evaluated these concerned institutions' suggestions for changes to oil and gas resource extraction tax conditions. Finally, the ministry submitted information about and alternative suggestions regarding the calculation of the oil and gas resource tax charge to the Government of the Republic of Lithuania's strategic committee.
The oil and gas tax law project will be considered by the Government's strategic committee on April 10th. Further changes to oil and gas resource extraction tax conditions will depend on the Government's decision and on deliberations held in the Seimas.
The Lithuanian Geological Survey has already prepared and submitted for negotiation a number of laws regulating the use of hydrocarbon resources: new competition provisions, new competition conditions, a project for changes to laws regarding the environmental effects of planned economic activities (evaluations of environmental effects will be stricter and will be mandatory when using hydraulic fracturing technology), new hydrocarbon resource classifications, etc. The laws are currently being negotiated, but they should be completed and ratified in May.
Besides adding precautions to our laws, the Lithuanian Geological Survey's specialists are also improving their qualifications abroad so that they would be better prepared for their upcoming work monitoring shale gas prospecting and extraction. The experts recently participated in an international conference in Poland, where Lithuania's neighbor shared her experiences with shale gas extraction.
The Unconventional Gas Technical Engagement Program agreement between Lithuania and the U.S.A. was prepared last year, as was a plan to execute this program. The first meeting on this plan's execution has already been held at the Ministry of Environment.
The “Shale gas in Lithuania. Safe environment and economic benefit” project was implemented in Lithuania in an effort to better inform the public about the use of shale gas. The aim of the project was to inform the public of the potentials of shale gas and of the economic benefits and potential environmental and health dangers of shale gas extraction. 5 public information events were held in Šilutė, Tauragė, Jurbarkas, Pagėgiai and Kybartai. The www.skalunudujos.lt interactive website was also created to inform the public, and informational pamphlets, booklets and displays were also published. Articles on the topic were published in the regional press and a film called “Shale Gas in Lithuania” was created.
Public information division