Chevron Restarts Search for Shale Gas in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) -- U.S. oil giant Chevron has resumed its search for shale gas in northeastern Romania amid ongoing opposition from local residents.

In October, Chevron suspended searching for shale gas in the village of Pungesti following protests in the capital and the local area against fracking.

The company said Monday its priority was to "conduct these activities in a safe and environmentally responsible manner." It gained permits to drill exploratory wells in Pungesti in October but halted activity after protests. On Monday, hundreds of police blocked a road to stop residents demonstrating.

Local environmentalists say pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into deep rock formations to free oil and gas could contaminate groundwater.

Thousands of people have rallied across Romania in recent months to protest against government support for shale gas exploration.

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