France's National Assembly passes fracing ban

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, May 12 -- France's National Assembly voted May 11 to ban hydraulic fracturing in shale oil and gas operations. The country’s Senate will debate the issue on June 1.

The National Assembly’s 287-186 vote was not unanimous as expected. The legislation submitted did not immediately abrogate exploration research permits already granted. Instead it allowed a 2-month period following the law’s publication for operators to indicate whether they would use fracing as part of their operations.

The legislation also calls for the French government to submit an annual report to Parliament on the progress of shale exploration and production techniques.

While expressing "deep regret" about the ban on fracing, France's oil industry trade group Union Francaise des Industries Petroliere (UFIP) said it hopes the annual report to Parliament eventually convinces lawmakers to authorize fracing.

Before the vote, UFIP sent a 4-page letter explaining fracing to lawmakers. Critics suggest fracing could contaminate ground water.

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