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Parliament imposes ban on shale gas exploration and extraction through “hydraulic fraction” method

The Bulgarian parliament imposed an unlimited ban on the exploration and extraction of shale gas which uses the method of hydraulic fraction or similar technologies. The ban was adopted by 166 votes, 6 “against” and 3 abstentions. The deputy chair of the GERB parliamentary group Valentin Nikolov proposed to include in the law that the ban is permanent and covers the territory of the country and its adjacent aquatory in the Black Sea. The law, he said, puts an end to the speculations and misinterpretations on the part of the opposition. Thus GERB proves once again that it works with and listens to the opinion of the civil society and it will continue to do so in the future. The law banning the particular method for shale gas exploration was initiated by Order, Law and Justice party leader Yane Yanev, amended and supplemented later by GERB and the parliamentary Economic Policy Committee. Yanev explained that his party was against the method because it uses poisonous and carcinogenic substances. The word “moratorium” was replaced with “ban” on the proposal of Luben Kornezov and Petar Dimitrov from the leftist Coalition for Bulgaria. The texts approved by deputies prohibit the extraaction of shale gas, as well as the exploration and production of natural gas and oil which use the same technology. Use of such methods is forbidden in the future, leading to penalties of up to BGN100 M for offenders. The law gives 3 months to those who already have a license allowing the use of the rejected method, to rework their plans for future exploration and drilling by employing different technologies. Those who miss the deadline will loose their license. The parliament has not approved the provision depriving licensees from their right to compensations and appeal. The provision to punish offenders with confiscation of the equipment in addition to the fine was not accepted.

The National Assembly appointed the members of the Audit Commission of the Annual Financial Reports of the National Audit Chamber for 2009 and 2010.

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