Govt Supports Gas Exploration in Petišovci

Govt Supports Gas Exploration in Petišovci

A senior government official voiced support Thursday for a major gas exploration project in eastern Slovenia, despite growing protests by green groups keen on stopping the project in its tracks.

Its estimate is that production in the first phase would satisfy 10-15% of the country’s annual consumption. Gas will remain in the energy mix and “we will not close the door to domestic gas,” Danijel Levičar, the head of the Energy Directorate at the Ministry of Infrastructure, told a debate in Ljubljana organised by energetika.net.

The Petišovci gas project is geared towards reducing import dependency and the ministry supports it, according to Levičar. The exploration is led by UK-based Ascent Resources in conjunction with Geoenergo, a company indirectly controlled by the state. Ascent has a 75% interest in the joint venture and Geoenergo 25%.

Ascent has focused all of its activities on Petišovci, which the company estimates contains seven times the annual gas consumption in Slovenia. Its estimate is that production in the first phase would satisfy 10-15% of the country’s annual consumption, a proportion that will increase significantly in phase two.

Geoenergo director Miha Valenčič said production from two wells could start in 2016 pending the issuance of an Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control (IPPC) permit for a new gas processing facility on-site. According to him, Petišovci gas holds great potential. Locally it will create jobs, at the national level it can be a good example of how to work in conjunction with foreign investors.

In the public mind the biggest obstacle to exploration is opposition of green groups to hydraulic fracturing or fracking, which has been escalating in recent months.

But Valentinčič said there was a lot of “disinformation”, as the fracking methods to be used in Petišovci are small-scale fracturing of what is called “tight gas”, a technology that has been used in the area since the 1950s, not large-scale fracking.

Source: The Slovenia Times

Date: May 2015

Photo credit: Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

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