Lithuania Blows Its Chance to Blow Up Gazprom

Reuters is reporting that Lithuania has blown its chance to escape from Gazprom’s not so-friendly embrace:

U.S. energy major Chevron has pulled out after winning a tender to explore for shale gas in Lithuania, blaming changes to laws which have made it less attractive.

Chevron was the only bidder to explore for unconventional hydrocarbons in the 1,800 square km Silute-Taurage prospect. The government picked it as a winner a month ago.

The bit where Lithuanian Prime Minister Algirdas Butkevicius admits this is true is possibly the worst part.

Lithuania received a personalized reminder of why doing business in and near Russia can be so awful when Moscow launched punitive measures against Vilnius’s trucking industry in retaliation for Lithuania’s defense of Ukraine during the last blow-up between Kyiv and Moscow; getting completely out from Russia’s spiky and deeply unpleasant embrace should be Lithuania’s first, second, and third foreign policy and economic priorities.

Instead, because Lithuania did not so much revolutionize its legal code when joining the European Union as add to it, doing business there – whether as a financial services firm, as a natural gas company, or as an importer/exporter – is not a task for those prone to headaches.

Those who have watched the Baltics and those outside of the immediate Socviet orbit lead the way in post-Soviet economic, civil and political development are aware that their story is not one of ceaseless improvement, but rather of two-steps-forward, one-step-back fits and starts. Poland proved that a month ago. Lithuania is proving that today.

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