Oil giant Chevron has embarked on a global push for fracking, often with the support of US diplomats. In Argentina, Chevron has used lobbying, political connections and intolerable tactics to push its fracking agenda and protect its interests in its only unconventional exploitation project outside of North America.
Eager to expand its shale gas and shale oil operations outside of North America, oil giant Chevron has been working hard to convince governments in Europe and South America to give it free rein to frack. But fracking has been linked to ground-water contamination, serious health impacts, seismic instability, and increased methane leakages leading to significantly higher carbon emissions overall than other fossil fuels, including coal .
In Eastern Europe, Chevron was able to call on Hilary Clinton and the US network of foreign embassies to ramp up domestic political pressure and push fracking at the highest level . Despite the introduction of local moratoriums and huge public opposition, the US stuck by Chevron. In Bulgaria, where Chevron had signed a $68m deal for concessions before public protest led to a ban, Hillary Clinton herself flew in to convince local politicians to overturn it. According to a Bulgarian diplomat, she offered to send in the best specialists to present “the benefits to the Bulgarian people.” It didn’t work, with opposition spreading to Romania. So special envoy for energy in Eurasia, Richard Morningstar, was sent in to push back. Private lobbying and public claims of massive cost savings saw the bans in both countries relaxed. Yet even with the US behind it, local resistance and disappointing findings have since seen Chevron abandon all Eastern European operations (Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine) – although it is still actively lobbying against fracking regulation at the EU level.
In Argentina, however, Chevron has found a much more malleable ground for its fracking push. It is a key partner of the government’s and state-controlled firm YPF’s relentless efforts to develop unconventional oil and gas in Patagonia at any cost.