Chevron resumes shale work in Romania

Updated 08 December 2013

Chevron resumes shale work in Romania

PUNGESTI, Romania: Chevron said it has resumed activities to build its first shale gas exploration well in Romania, a day after protests forced the US energy giant to suspend work.
“Chevron can confirm that it has resumed activities in Pungesti commune,” in northeastern Romania, the company said in a statement.
On Saturday, hundreds of protesters, mainly villagers from Pungesti, broke through wire mesh fences around Chevron’s site to protest against its plans to drill for shale gas.
Chevron was forced to suspend its activities for the second time in this rural Romanian village where nonstop protests have been staged for more than six weeks.
Residents oppose the highly controversial drilling technique used to extract shale gas known as “hydraulic fracturing” or “fracking”.
Widely used in some US states such as Pennsylvania and North Dakota, it has been banned in France and Bulgaria because of the risks of water and air pollution.
A study this year by Duke University in the US state of North Carolina showed that fracking increases the risk of contaminated drinking water.
Across Romania, thousands have taken to the streets to protest against shale gas over the past three months.
Last Monday, Romanian riot police forcibly removed protesters from a makeshift camp next to Chevron’s drilling site in Pungesti.
Greenpeace slammed the operation as “a serious abuse against the freedom of expression”.


Middle East chief executives share global gloom on economic prospects

Updated 21 January 2020

Middle East chief executives share global gloom on economic prospects

  • Only China and India among the major economic blocs were less pessimistic on average
  • Trade wars, geopolitical tensions and climate change threats were the factors weighing most heavily on executive minds

DAVOS: Global business chiefs are more pessimistic about prospects for the world economy than for many years, and senior executives in the Middle East are among the most gloomy, according to the annual survey of chief executive officers’ opinion released at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

The poll — by consulting firm PwC — showed that a record number of CEOs were pessimistic about the international economy, with an average of 53 percent predicting a decline in the rate of growth in 2020.

While bosses in North America and Europe were particularly downbeat about prospects, with 63 percent and 59 percent saying they thought things would get worse this year, CEOs in the Middle East were also more gloomy than average, with 57 percent predicting lower growth this year.

Only China and India among the major economic blocs were less pessimistic on average, but there was a sharp decline in the number of Chinese executives who wanted to do business with the US — just 11 percent identified the US as their most attractive market, compared with 59 percent two years ago.

Trade wars, geopolitical tensions and climate change threats were the factors weighing most heavily on executive minds — apart from the standard complaints about over-regulation by governments.

Unveiling the 2020 results, PwC chairman Bob Moritz said: “Given the lingering uncertainty over trade tensions, geopolitical issues and the lack of agreement on how to deal with climate change, the drop in confidence in economic growth is not surprising – even if the scale of the change in mood is.”

Last year, there was a record number of CEOs who said they were optimistic about global economic growth, and only 29 percent said they were pessimistic.

“These challenges facing the global economy are not new. However, the scale of them and the speed at which some of them are escalating is new, the key issue for leaders gathering in Davos is: How are we going to come together to tackle them,” Moritz added.

The poll of 1,600 CEOs in 83 countries was taken toward the end of last year, before tensions in the Middle East escalated in the Arabian Gulf, but before the tentative “phase one” agreements on world trade between the US and China.

The poll was also taken before the Australian wildfires further highlighted fears of climate change — a major focus of the WEF meeting.

The poll also found CEOs less confident than ever in their own companies’ prospects, with only 27 percent of CEOs saying they are “very confident” in their own organization’s growth over the next 12 months – the lowest level PwC has recorded since 2009 and down from 35 percent last year.