A 2012 decision to suspend shale gas exploration activity, following protests in southeast Romania, was reversed by the Senate on 31 January. The Senate’s overwhelming majority rejected a motion that had been proposed by incumbent PM Victor Ponta, when his USL party was in opposition.
According to Euractiv, earlier this year, Victor Ponta stated that he was in favour of shale gas: “Exploration, yes. After confirmation of the existence or non-existence of shale gas, which would take appreciatively five years, we will take the decision which presumes yes, we will exploit shale gas, while respecting all European and world standards for environmental protection.”. One of the arguments raised by PM Ponta is that in case Romania upholds a ban, it risks losing competitiveness against other countries, such as Poland.
US giant Chevron is planning investments in hydraulic fracturing for shale gas in the counties of Constanta (Vama Veche and Adamclisi si Costinesti) and Vaslui. In the County of Constanta, a referendum involving the towns of Mangalia, Costinesti and Adamclisi on shale gas was not validated, since the participation threshold of 50.1 % was not reached. Constanta is located on the Black Sea coast and hosts important beach resorts and cultural monuments. The communities inhabiting Vaslui County are particularly impoverished and depend primarily on subsistence-level agriculture. Yet the demonstrations against this activity in the economically depressed region were impressive.
Sources: Euractiv, Romania-Insider.com, Trefis, ft.com