During Clinton Visit, Bulgarian Rightists Liken Gazprom to Red Army

Energy | February 5, 2012, Sunday // 18:43|  views

Bulgaria should lift its recently imposed moratorium for exploration and production of shale gas, argued rightist Union of Democratic Forces at a press conference Sunday.

At the same time, shale gas was among the topics discussed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with Bulgarian PM Boyko Borisov during her visit in Sofia.

UDF MP Lachezar Toshev said he will table a motion for lifting the ban, thus joining calls from the other party in Bulgaria's Blue Coalition, Democrats for Strong Bulgaria.

January 18 the Bulgarian Parliament imposed the ban after massive protests against a drilling permit for US energy giant Chevron.

Environmentalists and citizens have warned that the technique used for exploring and producing shale gas - hydraulic fracturing - is environmentally hazardous.

However, Sunday rightist politicians argued that Bulgarian citizens have at least the right to know whether there are significant shale gas deposits in the country.

"There is not a single piece of sound and expert scientific evidence resolutely against the exploration for shale gas," argued Toshev.

Rightists further linked anti-shale gas with Russian strategic interests, saying that Gazprom, Bulgaria's main supplier of natural gas is a prime tool of Russian influence.

"It is obvious that Gazprom is serving the same role that the Soviet Army served some decades ago," said UDF MPs.

Commentators in Bulgaria expected that during SUnday's meeting, Clinton would pressure the Bulgarian cabinet into allowing Chevron on Bulgarian soil.

No definite results to that end were apparent, as both Clinton and Borisov vowed to put "nature first" in joint energy endeavors.

At the same time, she said that as soon as next week, she will be sending US Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy Richard Morningstar to Bulgaria.

Morningstar was among the very first who introduced the idea of drilling for shale gas using a technology called hydraulic fracturing in Bulgaria, back in spring 2010.

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Tags: Gazprom, Russian, US, USA, American, Hillary Clinton, Chevron, shale gas, Richard Morningstar, Boyko Borisov, envorinment, Nature, environmentalists, Soviet Army, UDF, Union of Democratic Forces, Blue Coalition, Democrats for Strong Bulgaria


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