A bid to ban the exploration and extraction of shale gas in Bulgaria has failed.
A bill presented today to the parliament that would have introduced the ban was rejected, with 123 out of 240 MPs voting against it, 43 voting in favour and 66 abstaining.
However, the decision does not quite open the door to drilling for Bulgaria’s shale reserves. Chevron wants to carry out exploration but prime minister Boyko Borisov has stated that he will not allow it until hydrofracking – the method by which shale is extracted – is proved to be a safe technology.
In the UK last year an investigation by independent European experts concluded that it was highly probable that fracking had caused seismic tremors in Lancashire.
There is a large body of public opposition to shale gas exploration in Bulgaria. At the weekend a series of co-ordinated protests took place in cities throughout the country.