“As far as the exploration and exploitation of non-conventional hydrocarbons is concerned, this will be my policy throughout my [five-year] term of office.”
Hollande also said seven applications for permission for hydraulic drilling to explore shale gas had rejected by his government, although he did not specify which ones.
"In the current form, no one can say that gas and shale exploration through hydraulic drilling, the only technique known today, is not exempt from posing great health and environment risks," he said.
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Needless, to say, those who are responsible for creating the much needed economic growth in France are more than worried:
Laurence Parisot, head of Medef, the employers’ federation, said she feared that Mr Hollande had closed the debate on shale deposits, saying such a step “would be very dangerous for the economy and for the country”. She said no plan had been outlined on how to reach the nuclear target.
Estimates from the US energy department suggest France could possess as much as 5tn cubic metres of shale gas, one of the biggest reserves in Europe or about a fifth of US reserves.
Medef argues that exploitation of the reserves could offer a big boost to the French economy, as it has in the US. It says there should be deeper investigation of the effects of fracking and the development of other technologies for shale exploitation.
Jean-Pierre Clamadieu, chief executive of Solvay, the Franco-Belgian chemical group, and a Medef delegate at the conference, said shale had produced a “competitive shock” for the US which France could emulate. “Plus we have an industrial sector in which France could be a global leader,” he said.
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There are more and more signs that Hollande will be a huge disappointment as president. A weak socialist apparatschik in bed with the greenies is not what France needs.