Chevron, the number two U.S. oil company, has won a tender to explore shale gas deposits in northeastern Bulgaria, Economy and Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said on May 28.
"Chevron, which won the tender, offered the government a 30-million-euro (US$43 million) bonus for the license to explore a shale gas field near NoviPazar. It won in competition with Canadian BNK," Traikov said.
Two more tenders for shale gas exploration in the same region in northeastern Bulgaria were still underway with offers to be submitted by end-June, Traikov added.
Initial estimates of the companies interested in shale gas exploration in Bulgaria put the country's deposits between 300 billion and 1.0 trillion cubic meters, he explained.
Bulgaria, which is almost totally dependent on Russian gas supplies via Ukraine, sees shale gas as a possibility of diversifying its energy sources.
Bulgaria also hopes to link its gas transportation network to neighboring Greece in 2014 and receive gas from Azerbaijan via an interconnector system.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011