Energy giant Chevron has suspended shale gas exploration in Romania following concerns over hydraulic fracturing – or ‘fracking’ – the process by which the gas is accessed.
Chevron said that for the next year the only shale gas activity it will carry out will be seismic data surveying.
The decision comes after strong opposition to the exploratory work, particularly in southeast Romania where the drilling was due to take place.
Similar protests stalled Chevron in Bulgaria also after the country's parliament passed a ban on shale gas drilling last January.
In a statement Chevron said it will continue to undertake planned seismic studies in 2012, while focusing on “providing factual information to assure Romanian citizens and policymakers concerned about the perceived risks of natural gas exploitation from shale formations”.
The company said that positive indications from its seismic investigation may be followed by standard drilling, techniques employed in conventional oil and gas activities.