By San Francisco Business Times

Oil giant Chevron Corp. wants to look for natural gas in shale deposits in Bulgariaâ¿¿s northeast, near the Romanian border.

San Ramon-based Chevron (NYSE: CVX) executives and the U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria, James Warlick, met Bulgariaâ¿¿s prime minister, Boiko Borisov, on Tuesday, to discuss the potential development of energy resources in the country.

Bulgaria wishes to become more self-sufficient in energy in part because it gets all of its natural gas from Russia, which sometimes turns off pipeline taps during disputes.

Integrity Tower Inc., another U.S. company, is also interested in probing potential sites in Bulgaria.

No one knows whether the purported shale gas deposits in the country have significant amounts to make development pay off. Shale gas is harder and therefore more expensive to reach. Techniques for tapping it are still new and uncertain. Even Chevronâ¿¿s new CEO, John Watson, has questioned the huge investments required for shale-gas projects.

About 1 percent of natural gas in the United States comes from tapping shale gas formed in the Devonian Period, more than 350 million years ago.

President Barack Obama has pushed for greater development of shale gas and set up a deal with President Hu Jintao of China to cooperate on producing more of it in China.

Copyright 2010 American City Business Journals
Copyright 2010