The Media Center held a press conference featuring oil and gas prospecting near the Sevan and possible environmental challenges.The speakers included: Evelina Ghukasyan, Director of Hydroecology and Ichthyology Institute of NAS RA; Karine Danielyan, Head of the Association for Sustainable Human Development; Vigen Avetisyan, Head of the Department of Underground Resources and Land Protection Policy of the RA Ministry of Nature Protection; Silva Adamyan, Coordinator of Public Environmental Alliance; and Vardan Vardanyan, Head of the Mining Department at the RA Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources.
Vardan Vardanyan told the journalists Blackstairs Energy entered into a five year Petroleum Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement with the Government of the Republic of Armenia in 2007.
“Now the company has applied for a two-year extension of their Petroleum Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement since they have had financial problems. Now we are talking about seismic surveying without any drilling,” Vardanyan said.
Blackstairs Energy has the license for the exploration and development of petroleum resources on three license areas: Blocks 4, 5 and 6. The blocks cover an area of 9,487 sq-km
Vigen Avetisyan said: “I officially state that the Ministry has not issued any permit for drilling wells. What we have now is safe two-year-long geological exploration.”
Silva Adamyan stressed that green activists understand that there is no drilling at the moment but if oil and gas reserves are found, the concern is that the company will begin exploitation of mineral resources.
Karine Danielyan added that people do not trust the words of the Ministry representatives when the latter ones insist drilling will not be carried out.