Chevron resumes shale work in Romania despite protests

Chevron resumes shale work in Romania despite protests

PUNGESTI, Romania - Chevron on Sunday said it has resumed activities to build its first shale gas exploration well in Romania, a day after protests forced the US energy giant to suspend work.

"Chevron can confirm that it has resumed activities in Pungesti commune," in northeastern Romania, the company said in a statement.

On Saturday, hundreds of protesters, mainly villagers from Pungesti, broke through wire mesh fences around Chevron's site to protest against its plans to drill for shale gas.

Chevron was forced to suspend its activities for the second time in this rural Romanian village where nonstop protests have been staged for more than six weeks.

Residents oppose the highly controversial drilling technique used to extract shale gas known as "hydraulic fracturing" or "fracking".

Widely used in some US states such as Pennsylvania and North Dakota, it has been banned in France and Bulgaria because of the risks of water and air pollution.

A study this year by Duke University in the US state of North Carolina showed that fracking increases the risk of contaminated drinking water.

Across Romania, thousands have taken to the streets to protest against shale gas over the past three months.

Last Monday, Romanian riot police forcibly removed protesters from a makeshift camp next to Chevron's drilling site in Pungesti.

Greenpeace slammed the operation as "a serious abuse against the freedom of expression".

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