France opposes shale gas development
French Environment Minister Philippe Martin reiterated his government's strong opposition to the exploitation of shale gas, despite a parliamentary report advocating more flexibility towards unconventional gas.
The French government says it will not issue the permits for shale gas exploitation requested by the US company Hess Oil, Martin, the energy and ecology minister, announced on 28 November.
Hess oil brought the the seven permits from the company Toreador, which had secured them in 2010. The oil covered by the permits is located in the Parisian basin. The permits were never clearly cancelled after the government set a law in 2011 prohibiting hydraulic fracturing.
"How was I to validate this change of permit when their initial goal was exclusively shale gas exploration and when the US company that bought them is specialised in shale gas extraction?," Martin said.
"Given the geological strata where the drilling would have taken place, it would have automatically implied hydraulic fracturing, which is forbidden in France," he said.
The cancellation could cost the French state around €210,000, as Hess Oil claims €30,000 compensation per permit. The state intends to reduce the compensation.
Natural gas rig image courtesy USDA.
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