Chevron halts gas search in Romania after protests

BUCHAREST, Romania — Chevron says it has suspended searching for shale gas in northeast Romania following protests in the capital and the local area against hydraulic fracturing.

The company said in a statement Thursday its priority was to “conduct these activities in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.” It said it had permits to start drilling for shale gas in the village of Pungesti.

The statement came after hundreds protested Wednesday in a field where Chevron plans to launch its operation, followed by a protest in Bucharest.
Local environmentalists say pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into deep rock formations to free oil and gas could contaminate groundwater.

Local authorities say they would hold a non-binding referendum on Nov. 24 on whether to allow Chevron to explore for shale.