Friday, 20 July 2012

The French ban on shale gas exploration to be reversed?

Is France beginning to see the light with regard to shale gas and oil exploration?:

Shale gas, an energy game changer in the U.S., is dividing the French government, raising the possibility the country may lift a ban on its exploration.
“It’s not a banned subject,” Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg said today in Paris. “We must confront it. For the moment, there is no government position.”

Montebourg, who is charged with reversing job losses and a decline in French industrial production, was speaking at a conference today attended by top executives of some of the country’s biggest companies, including energy explorer Total SA, a shale gas producer in the U.S. whose permit was revoked in France by the previous government.
France last year became the first country in the world to ban fracking, which uses water, sand and chemicals to open fissures in rocks and release gas and oil. Following passage of the law in parliament, the previous government suspended the rights of energy companies to explore for shale gas around Paris and in southern France. Oil companies including Total (FP), the nation’s largest, and Toreador Resources Corp. had been awarded licenses for exploration.
France and Poland are the two countries in Europe with the biggest potentially recoverable reserves of shale gas and oil. Only in the region around Paris - with a geology similar to the Bakken shale i North Dakota, there may be over 100 billion barrels of oil:
“How can we not want to know if our land has these resources? ” Total’s Pouyanne asked. “Our country may have these resources. If it does, it would indisputably represent industrial renewal. We must have confidence in the ability of our country’s industry to develop these resources and respect strict environmental rules.”

Read the entire article here
One must hope that the French industry minister will be able to persuade François Hollande to join the voices of sanity on this matter. 

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