France Halts All Shale Oil, Gas Drilling Until June


"Government awaits study results; public opposition intensifies."

French Prime Minister Francois Fillon has ordered a ban on shale oil and gas drilling until two separate government reports are published in June.

The government has already issued three permits for shale oil exploration and three for shale gas, but public opposition has intensified. The shale oil permits included the right to carry out drilling work, while the permits for shale gas were for exploratory activities only.

As more and more groups came out in opposition against unconventional exploration, ecology minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet announced early February no new authorizations would be given for shale gas drilling until the results of a newly commissioned impact and feasibility study.

Two weeks later, the minister said France would not issue any new permits for the exploration of shale gas—which includes early non-drilling activities—until the study is completed. An initial report is expected by April 15, with a final report by the end of May.

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