Ponta: I am for shale gas exploration; if we discover deposits, I will be for exploitation in safe conditions

Prime Minister Victor Ponta said, on Friday, March 29, he is for the shale gas exploration, adding that an eventual exploitation might start only in five years time, in compliance with all environmental standards.

„The idea is this: at the moment, for Romania and for all of Europe, the issue of gas price is fundamental. First of all, for the population – the price; but especially for industry, which becomes non-competitive. I saw a news story about one of the largest European companies , which wanted to open two years ago a factory in Romania and opened it instead in the U.S., because there it has shale gas. This gas comes at a quarter of the price. So, I am for exploration, because nothing is to be exploited less than five years. And, if after such exploration, the shale gas could be exploited in Romania in safe conditions for the environment, I will be in favor”, said Victor Ponta on Antena 3 TV.

He justified this option saying he would like Romania to no longer import gas at very high prices from Russia, and implicitly that Romania should no longer depend on the gas imports.

„I know it’s very good for Romania to be energy independent. And I take this unpopular responsibility / of shale gas exploration – editor’s note /”, the Premier added.

He assured that exploration work has no effect on the environment and exploitation could not start for at least five years.

„The licenses of exploitation can not be given until exploration ends and I give you all the guarrantees that, if such licenses are to be issued by my government or by another government, this will be done only and only in compliance with U.S. and European standards of environment protection”, Ponta said.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta also had said, on March 2, that to date there is no scientific evidence that shale gas exploration technology would affect the environment.

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