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Premier asked Chevron to declassify Romanian contracts

Prime Minister (PM) Mihai Razvan Ungureanu said today (Tues) he had sent last week a letter to oil and gas giant Chevron, asking for permission to declassify their contracts in Romania, local press informs.

The PM told several NGOs he met in the morning that in order to declassify the oil and shale gas contracts, the Cabinet needed the agreement of the American company.

In March, the government sealed two deals with Chevron for the exploitation of shale gas deposits in Barlad, Vaslui County (central Romania) and in three other areas located in Dobrogea region (South East). So far, the government has refused to publish the contracts despite the repeated appeals by the opposition and environment activists.

Pressured by the opposition and the media to respond to why parts of the contracts are being kept secret despite the fact that the agreements pertain to national resources, the Spokesperson for the Government Dan Suciu said last week that the secrecy was required by the Oil Law. He said the cabinet was taking into account the declassification of the deal, but it had to have in mind first "elements pertaining to national security". However, Chevron said it had nothing against making the terms of the contracts public.

The Cabinet of PM Mihai Razvan Ungureanu came under fire for closing the deals with Chevron without prior consultation in parliament and in the absence of a public debate.

The co-president of the opposition, Social Democrat leader Victor Ponta accused the government of giving away Romania’s last natural reserves for nothing. "Most probably the mission of this government is to estrange the country’s last natural and energy reserves from the national patrimony," he said on Sunday.

Chevron also holds several oil perimeters in the Black Sea together with OMV Petrom, estimated at some 37 billion Euros.

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