* Chevron blames recent legislative changes
* Says to stay in Lithuania, focus on existing field
By Andrius Sytas
VILNIUS, Oct 8 U.S. energy major Chevron
has pulled out after winning a tender to explore for shale gas
in Lithuania, blaming changes to laws which have made it less
Chevron was the only bidder to explore for unconventional
hydrocarbons in the 1,800 square km Silute-Taurage prospect. The
government picked it as a winner a month ago.
Lithuania called the shale gas exploration tender hoping to
become less reliant on gas from its former Soviet master,
The U.S. company said in a statement it blamed regulatory
and legislative changes that came in after it placed the bid for
"Significant changes to the fiscal, legislative and
regulatory climate in Lithuania have substantially impacted the
operational and commercial basis of the investment decision
since the company submitted its bid in January 2013," it said.
Lithuania's Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius said in a
statement he regretted Chevron's decision, but admitted there
was a lack of regulatory clarity.
"The parliament still debates various amendments, which
could affect the use of hydrocarbons in our country. That means,
that first of all we need to have a legal framework in place,"
he said in a statement.
The proposals debated by the parliament include taxing
exploration of shale gas and shale oil at 40 percent, up from
the current 16 percent on conventional hydrocarbons.
"The government will discuss whether to call a new tender
for exploration of shale gas and oil," a government spokeswoman
Chevron said it will stay in Lithuania, focusing on
exploration of conventional hydrocarbons at its existing
The company also said it remained "committed to exploring
and evaluating investment opportunities in Central and Eastern
Chevron, which has four concessions for shale gas
exploration in neighboring Poland, said earlier it wanted more
consultation with the Polish government on proposed draft
amendments before they are adopted.
Exxon Mobil, Talisman and Marathon
have pulled out of Polish shale gas, citing difficult geology
and short-comings in the regulatory environment.