US supermajor Chevron is expected to win a licence to explore for shale gas and oil in Lithuania after submitting the only application for a permit, according to reports.

The exploration contract would give Chevron seven years to explore for unconventional reserves in the 1800-square-kilometre Silute-Taurage field in Lithuania. The supermajor would also have 10 years to explore for conventional oil deposits in the field.

State Geological Survey head Juozas Mockevicius told Reuters that Chevron was the only participant in the tender, which closed this week.

“The winner in the tender should be confirmed in the three months after the application has been checked. Then a contract should be finalised and signed in three more months,” he told the news wire.

The permit will require Chevron to invest at least 80 million litas ($31 million) in the exploration project.

A study by the US Energy Information Administration has put Lithuania’s potential recoverable shale-gas reserves at 113 billion cubic metres.

According to Mockevicius, the prospect of finding shale oil in Lithuania is more likely than finding shale gas, Reuters reported.

Last October, Chevron bought a 50% stake in privately held LL Investicijos of Lithuania.

That company’s main asset is the Rietavas licence — a 2400-square-kilometre block prospective for oil and shale gas.

Chevron also has an option to acquire additional interest in the licence at a predetermined undisclosed price, to be exercised within three years, according to Tethys Oil, which also holds a stake in Rietavas.

Lithuania, a former Soviet republic, hopes to reduce its dependence on energy imports from Russia. It joins eastern European neighbours like Poland and Romania – where Chevron also has operations – in the search for shale reserves.