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French opposition to shale gas ‘might melt’ - ministry

30 Jan 2013 16:19:51

A representative of France's ministry of economy, technology and industry said on Wednesday that he is optimistic that the current ban on shale gas exploration will be lifted in the coming years, as the country takes its lead from other European countries.

Speaking at the Energy Exchange - hosted European Unconventional Gas Summit 2013, in Vienna, Serge Catoire - the ministry's director - said that France remains in a "contemplative stage" with regards to shale development, but that it will follow the evolution of technologies elsewhere.

"The future will be influenced by these technologies. For now, the [shale gas] situation is frozen in France. We will look elsewhere. We hope that what is frozen might melt," Catoire said.

France banned shale gas exploration in July 2011 (see ESGM 1 July 2011). While that decision was made by the former government, the exploitation of France's unconventional gas resources is not on the current government's agenda either (see ESGM 20 July 2012). There has been increasing talk that at some stage the embargo could be lifted, the most recent of which was a report commissioned by the French government that recommended research into unconventional gas be pursued (see ESGM 6 November 2012). JCE

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