French exploration permits reflect no slowdown

The October bulletin just published by France's Hydrocarbon Exploration-Production Bureau shows no slowdown in requests for exploration permits.

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Dec. 2 -- The October bulletin just published by France's Hydrocarbon Exploration-Production Bureau shows no slowdown in requests for exploration permits.

Six new requests are listed, with three of them in the southeastern part of France, a little-explored area so far:

-- Texas-based Schnepback Energy LCC, a newcomer to France's exploration scene, requested 9,810 sq km on the Navacelle permit, extending almost to the Gulf of Lyon.

-- Egdon Resources, Eagle Energy, and YCI Energy together requested the 576 sq km Navacelle permit, north of Nimes.

-- Cevennes Petroleum Development Ltd. requested 4,323 sq km on the Cevennes permit not far from the Navacelle permit.

Charles Lamiraux, who is in charge of exploration requests at the Bureau, explained this interest in new areas to OGJ, saying technology has evolved, and the "unconventional" crude in southeastern France is now attractive to companies. The crude in that area is paraffin-based, bordering on heavy. Likewise in the northeastern Lorraine area argillaceus crude is also attracting companies.

These are long-term projects, he believes. Each license is for 5 years but is renewable. Much conventional oil acreage is depleting, he noted. "And, in any case, companies prefer to invest in France where they are on surer ground."

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