French PM extends ban on shale gas, oil drilling

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Mar. 16 -- Faced with increasing protests from environmentalists and residents near proposed well sites, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon extended the moratorium on shale gas and oil drilling until mid-June.

Fillon also extended the moratorium to research permits and to authorizations to start work in this sector. By mid-June, two studies commissioned by the Energy and Environment Ministers on economic, social, and environmental impact of shale gas and oil drilling will be examined and decisions made by the authorities (OGJ Online, Feb. 14, 2011).

In a letter to the environment, interior, and economy ministers, Fillon indicated no unconventional drilling operations could start before publication and examination of the reports.

Before the PM’s intervention, Hess Oil France and Toreador Resources Corp. tried to reassure Chateau Thierry residents a proposed conventional well to be spudded in mid-April would be “neither dangerous nor environmentally destructive.”

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