Is This the Tip of the Iceberg for Shale Gas Fears?

Chevron (NYSE:CVX) has announced that it will suspend its shale gas exploration activities in Romania. The American multi-national energy corporation has said that its only activity in the area over the next 12 months will be seismic data surveying and reassuring citizens and policy makers concerned about perceived risks.

Chevron is said to be suspending activities of exploration and extraction of shale gas in Romania due to concerns related to hydraulic fracturing. The decision follows nationwide protests in Romania, particularly in towns in South East Romania where the shale gas exploration would take place. Romanian authorities were forced to revoke the concession agreement with Chevron on March 28 after citizens and environmental activists protested the exploration.

Chevron plans to commit to seismic studies in 2012. Recently, the company said it was in the process of initial permitting for a conventional exploration in Vaslui county, which borders Moldova.

In order to reassure Romanian citizens and policymakers concerned about any risks posed by “fracking,” the company will focus on providing factual information about natural gas exploitation from shale formations. Chevron has announced that it will employ standard techniques employed in conventional oil and gas activities that include standard drilling after positive indications from seismic investigations.

The world’s largest oil company, Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM), has been dealing with similar protests in Bulgaria. Last January, Bulgaria’s parliament passed a ban on shale gas drilling following protests from citizens and activists alike.

Chevron is currently the fourth-biggest American corporation and second-biggest oil company.

To contact the reporter on this story: Diallah Haidar at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at