Lithuanian Prime Minister is trying to attract shale gas investments with a plan to hold an exploration tender in 2015, director of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science at Vilnius University says.
Director Ramunas Vilpisauskas says that his recent and planned visits to other countries signal his desire to proceed with shale gas exploration in the country.
"I think the visits of the PM are directed towards the attraction of possible investors for shale gas exploration in Lithuania, but the key question is whether this kind of investment attraction activity will also be in line with domestic policies," said Vilpisauskas.
According to Vilpisauskas, the PM has two objectives; one is to form a political consensus within the ruling coalition and also to inform the skeptics in the general public, especially those who are opposed to shale gas extraction in Lithuania.
Algirdas Butkevicius, Lithuanian PM paid a three-day visit to Oman on Monday with one of his aims being to seek investment opportunities for the country to explore its shale gas potential.
"While the Lithuanian PM has been trying to send signals to potential investors, the domestic political situation, in particular the disagreement over the prospects of shale gas in Lithuania between the ruling coalition partners and within the ruling PM’s social democratic party have discouraged potential investors," Vilpisauskas explained.
American energy company Chevron, who won the tender for shale gas exploration in Lithuania, was working on this issue and committed to invest $80 million in Lithuania for the exploration license for seven years. However, in 2013 the company announced that it was leaving the country due to an uncertain legal framework for the company's shale projects.
"At the moment without a partnership with western companies, it’s difficult to move forward in this area," said Naser al-Tamimi, a U.K.-based Middle East analyst.
Lithuania aims to hold a new shale gas exploration tender in 2015.
By Murat Temizer