Agence France-Presse reports, “Hundreds of protesters rallied Saturday in the northeastern Romanian village of Pungesti against plans by Chevron to drill for shale gas, leading the US energy giant to temporarily suspend activities there.” Reuters adds, “On Saturday, about 300 riot police were deployed in Pungesti to try to prevent an equal number of protesters, mostly local residents, from entering the Chevron site. Some broke through into the site, however.” The drilling site was then briefly occupied.
Photo: ‘A victorious Romanian demonstrator cheers as protestors break down fence and storm Chevron exploration site’. Photo by Lucy Kafanov.
“(The company) said the suspension was temporary without elaborating.” This is the second time it has had to suspend its operations. “In October (it) had to halt work soon after (starting) when residents blocked access to the site. It resumed work on December 2.”
“Protesters called for the resignation of Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta, who opposed shale gas while in the opposition but became a promoter once in power.”
“The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates Romania could potentially hold 51 trillion cubic feet of shale gas…”
Romania joined the European Union in January 2007. Food & Water Europe notes, “Several constituencies such as France, Bulgaria and some Swiss and German states have already adopted a ban or a moratorium on fracking activities. Other European union Member States, such as the Czech Republic, Romania and Germany are considering a moratorium on fracking until an adequate regulatory framework has been is in place for unconventional energy projects such as shale gas. However, these polluting shale gas developments are going ahead in other countries, such as Poland, Ireland and the United Kingdom.”