Chevron begins drilling for shale gas in Romania

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BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - U.S. oil company Chevron says it has begun drilling for shale gas at its exploration well site in northeastern Romania, a project which has drawn protests from local residents.

The company said the drilling, which will probe to a depth of 4,000 meters (13,000 feet), started Tuesday after “safety and performance checks” had been completed and rock samples will be taken to determine if natural gas is present.

There were no protests reported at the site in the village of Pungesti, 340 kilometers (210 miles) northeast of Bucharest.

Environmentalists say that extracting shale gas - by pumping water and chemicals at high pressure into deep rock formations - could contaminate ground water supplies. Chevron says it will drill in an environmentally responsible manner.

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