Environment and Climate Change Romanian Minister Rovana Plumb has acknowledged that exploration permits have been granted to foreign companies in Dobrogea Region. She pointed out that in order for Romania to reach shale gas exploitation, the Ministry she overlooks needs to have a clear assessment of the available resources.
Hence, Rovana Plumb argued that there are no environmental risks in Dobrogea region in the exploration phase because hydraulic fracturing is not being used at this stage. The Romanian official highlighted that the exploration phase for shale gas in Dobrogea and the other regions that have been granted permits may just as well take at least 5 years in order for exploitation to be considered. She explained the process in 3 steps:
1) Firstly, technical prospects are being carried out in order to assess seismic data;
2) A second step consists of exploration actions that may last for an average of 5 years in order to identify the available shale gas resources on the Romanian territory;
3) Thirdly, the exploitation step which means extraction of the relevant resources identified during the exploration.
Rovana Plumb took to explaining the length of the procedure in the case of shale gas exploitation as there have been significant public protests in the areas that are currently explored. She advocated that Bulgaria too had started shale gas prospects before banning drilling exploration, Poland as well in an effort to achieve energy independence. The Environment and Climate Change Minister failed however to mention that Bulgaria is not reconsidering lifting the shale gas moratorium at this point until the public opinion is fully convinced of its safety for the environment.
Economy and Energy Bulgarian Minister Delyan Dobrev had earlier this year assured that there was a parliamentary committee in charge of the analysis related to shale gas exploration and exploitation involving contributions from all relevant parties including the academia, environmental NGOs, geologists and field experts.
Romania has never had a parliamentary committee dedicated to a debate on shale gas and such a parliamentary initiative would never pass the plenary vote although the Parliament is the public forum that legitimates the level of democracy in this country.
With some 588 MPs in both the Romanian Senate and Chamber of Deputies and quite a few parliamentarians obviously lacking committee assignment, one would have thought it a good idea to follow into the footsteps of our neighbours if we are truly interested in learning about environmental impact and seismic data in areas where we are so willingly granting permits…