5000 protest Shale Gas in Romania

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5,000 Romanians protested against plans by U.S. oil company Chevron Corp. to drill for shale gas last week.

Protesters took to the streets in advance a government decision to grant Chevron licenses to frack in three areas on the Black Sea coast.

“Even if no well is drilled in my village, we will all be affected, because the ground water will be polluted,” one of the demonstrators, Camelia Arsene, 33, told AFP.

“They will take advantage of us and when they go away they will leave behind contaminated water,” Gabriel Silvescu, 31, a tour operator, said.

In Bucharest, dozens of people rallied in front of the government’s headquarters to call for a ban on shale gas drilling.

In mid-January, huge protests in Bulgaria forced the government to cancel canceled licenses issued to Chevron to drill for shale gas – it is now preparing a law to ban this type of drilling.

In mid February dozens of Romanians and Bulgarians gathered in London to decry shale gas drilling in their countries.

A study in the United States has estimated joint reserves in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary at about 538 billion cubic metres.

Chevron plans to drill the first Romanian exploration well in the second half of 2012.

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