Blizzards, high winds batter Eastern Europe, cause havoc

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Blizzards battered parts of Eastern Europe on Sunday, forcing roads to close, trains and flights to be canceled and producing power outages.

The snow blanketed parts of Romania, Serbia, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Poland, while Croatia's Adriatic coast was hit by unseasonably low temperatures and high winds.

Romania's transportation ministry said 12 major roads were closed Sunday because of heavy snow and three Black Sea ports had to shut down because of high winds. Railway authorities said 20 trains had been canceled. At least three flights were also canceled.

Gas pipeline from Romania to Moldova to be built in 2016

CHISINAU, Moldova (AP) — A Moldovan government official says work on a pipeline that will transport natural gas from Romania to the Moldovan capital will begin next year.

The pipeline, which is expected to become operational in May 2018, will help lessen the former Soviet republic's dependency on Russia. It is an extension of one running from the northern Romanian city of Iasi to Ungheni, a Moldovan town near the Romanian border.

Romania court rejects appeal by Lukoil manager in fraud case

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A Romanian court has rejected an appeal by the general manager and six executives of a subsidiary of Russian oil company Lukoil who have been indicted on tax evasion and money laundering charges.

The Court of Appeal in Ploiesti dismissed the appeal made by general manager Andrey Bogdanov, a Russian citizen, and six Romanian and Russian managers at the Petrotel Lukoil refinery against their indictment. The decision was published Wednesday.

Romania begins shipping gas to Moldova

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania has begun transporting natural gas to Moldova, as the former Soviet republic moves toward the European Union and becomes less dependent on Russia.

"It is the first time that gas goes from West to East," said Moldova Foreign Minister Natalia Gherman during a visit to Bucharest.

Chevron pulls out of shale gas exploration in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — U.S. oil company Chevron says it has pulled out of shale gas drilling in Romania, weeks after ending business in Poland.

The company began drilling for shale gas at its exploration well in northeastern Romania in 2014, a project that drew protests. It is also ending its three other concessions in Romania.

Romania PM: Russia poses energy threat to region

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Romania's prime minister is calling Russia the biggest threat to stability in the region and says its energy threats are more worrisome than its military ones.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta told journalists that a planned European Energy Union was "the only solution good for all of us" and called offshore exploration in the Black Sea "an absolute priority."


Romania lifts freeze placed on Lukoil over probe

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — Russian crude producer Lukoil says Romanian authorities have lifted a freeze on its assets and activity that was placed as a result of a probe into tax evasion and money laundering worth 230 million euros ($290 million).

Lukoil said Tuesday that its Petrotel refinery in Romania was preparing to resume operations after a court ruled that a freeze place last week on its bank accounts, assets and refining activities could be lifted. The probe, however, continues.

Moldova gets gas from Romania through new pipeline

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — A new pipeline has been opened that will pump gas from Romania to Moldova in an attempt to reduce the former Soviet republic's dependence on Russian energy.

The prime ministers of the two countries inaugurated the pipeline Wednesday. Moldova's Iurie Leanca said it means "we can be sure that nobody can create problems for us or threaten us."

Chevron begins drilling for shale gas in Romania

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.

US oil company resumes exploration in Romania

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) — U.S. oil company Chevron says it has resumed exploration for shale gas in northeastern Romania a day after suspending work when hundreds of anti-fracking protesters tore down fences.


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