Lithuania, one of the countries importing all of its natural gas from Russia, has been struggling to embrace shale gas development. America’s Chevron backed out in October 2013, blaming a lack of administrative rules and some unidentified politicians’ “malicious activities.” Last year Lithuanian politicians were discussing a 40 percent tax on shale gas, which would be the highest in the world. As a result of the failed shale gas exploration deal with Chevron, the government has changed its rhetoric and is aiming for a more welcoming environment for foreign investment. Recently it announced a tax break for the first three or four years of shale gas exploration, which would be followed by 15 percent of tax later. New tender has not been announced yet. However, some analysts claim that significant resistance from the local community has played an important role as well.
Lithuania is not the only European country dealing with these issues. Chevron had to suspend its work in Romania twice last year because of harsh opposition and protests. The company started its first drilling activities in May in a “special security zone,” which is guarded by police who check passers-by’s identity papers.