President reiterates France's rejection of shale gas fracking

14 September 2012 15:58  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--French President Francois Hollande on Friday reiterated France's position not to allow the use of hyrdraulic fracturing (fracking) in shale gas exploration.

Hollande said that given the current state of technology, fracking involved heavy environmental risks.

"Given the present state of our knowledge, no one can say that the exploration of shale gas by hydraulic fracturing – the only known technology today - is free of heavy risks to health and the environment," Hollande said in addressing a webcast environmental conference in Paris.

He added that he instructed France's environment ministry not to approve seven applications for fracking in the country. He did not provide details about those applications.

Christophe de Margerie
, the CEO of French energy and petrochemicals major Total, said last month he hoped that Hollande, who was elected in May, would allow shale gas development, and
French chemical producer group UIC earlier this year called on France to be open-minded about shale gas opportunities.

France's previous government under former President Nicolas Sarkozy had banned fracking because of its environmental risks.

At the conference, Hollande also said that the French government plans to close the country's old nuclear reactor at Fessenheim, near the borders to Germany and Switzerland, by the end of 2016. The reactor had a small chemical accident earlier this month.

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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