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18.10.2013 12:44
Chevron Cancels Shale Gas Plans in Romania
Environmental concerns caused mass protests against shale gas research and gold mining plans

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U.S. oil major Chevron suspended its search for shale gas at a site in eastern Romania after opposition from local residents.

The company earlier this year won approval to drill exploratory wells in the impoverished eastern county of Vaslui and also has rights to explore three blocks near the Black Sea, Reuters reported.

Thousands of people have rallied across Romania in recent months to protest government backing for shale gas exploration and plans to set up Europe's largest open cast gold mine in the small Carpathian town of Rosia Montana by Canadian company Gabriel Resources.

In the small town of Pungesti, where Chevron was expected to begin work on its first exploration well, locals blocked access to the site earlier this week. Chevron aimed to set up the first well by the end of the year.

"Chevron can today confirm it has suspended activities in Silistea, Pungesti commune, Vaslui county," the company said on Thursday.

The Pungesti local council decided on Thursday to hold a referendum on Nov. 24 on whether to allow Chevron to explore for shale. The referendum would not be binding, and the company said it has all the necessary permits it needs for the works.

Shale gas faces local opposition due to environmental concerns around hydraulic fracturing, the process of injecting water and chemicals at high pressure into underground rock formations to push out gas.

Many countries in central and southeastern Europe see shale gas as a way to wean themselves off Russian supplies, though Romania only imports about a quarter of what it uses due to conventional reserves.

TAGS: Chevron | Gabriel Resources | Romania | shale gas | gold | mining | hydraulic fracking | environment | protests | Rosia Montana 

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