Chevron resumes Romania shale search operations after protest

BUCHAREST, Dec 8 (Reuters) - U.S. oil major Chevron started work again at its shale exploration site in eastern Romania on Sunday, a day after hundreds of anti-fracking protesters stopped operations there.

Chevron said equipment had been damaged after protesters broke through wire mesh fences around its site near the small town of Pungesti.

“Chevron can confirm that it has resumed activities ... While we respect the right of individuals to express their opinions, it should be done within the law,” it said in a statement.

On Saturday, about 300 riot police were deployed in Pungesti, 340 km (210 miles) northeast of Bucharest, to try to prevent an equal number of protesters, mostly locals, from getting into the Chevron site. Some broke through however.

Thousands have rallied across the country in recent months to protest against government support for shale exploration and a separate drive to set up Europe’s largest open cast gold mine in Transylvania.

Chevron, which also has rights to explore three licence blocks near the Black Sea, does not have plans to use fracking under its five-year exploration programme.