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PM Ponta interested in US shale gas environmental impact and protection studies


Premier Victor Ponta discussed with U.S. officials the appropriateness of shale gas exploitation, mentioning that he asked the U.S. Department of Energy to provide the Romanian side with their environmental protection studies.

'Vice President Biden expressed a view I perfectly agree with and which I think, me and everybody else in charge, need to get better explained at home. He told me this: we in America did very well to go for shale gas exploitation, this carries a huge economic benefit, but we too have two kinds of companies here, some seek a fast and higher profit and therefore invest less in environment - and he added 'you should beware of them' - and those with another type of approach, generally large companies like Chevron, which have a different communication policy. They have a different financial force in the first place and they say: it's fine, we make less money in the long-term, but we respect all the environmental requirements in such a way that the population, the public opinion and even ecology advocates are satisfied that the exploitation we do doesn't harm the environment,' Ponta told Antena 3 television channel.

The Premier, who on Oct. 23 wrapped up a three-day visit to Washington, said that he had asked the U.S. Department of Energy to provide Romania with their environmental studies.

'In connection with this, at the meeting with the Minister of Energy - the U.S. Secretary of Energy, we asked the Energy Department to provide us with all their environmental protection and impact studies, for us to develop and implement in Romania too such high standards, although we already have some set in place. But, mind you, for people to get this right: they will be applied at the time we start exploitation. Today and for four to five years from now, if Chevron, but other companies too - because it's not just Chevron that explores shale gas - but for the time being they use conventional technology for exploration, there is no hydraulic fracking yet, so if resources are found in significant quantities, in about four to five years a new exploitation license must be issued and until then we must get absolutely all the environmental standards ready,' said Ponta.