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The French Energy Ministry has prepared a draft law that would terminate the granting oil and gas exploration licenses at home and in overseas territories. In a tweet, Minister Nicolas Hulot said, “There will be no new permits for oil and gas exploration, we will vote a law this fall.”
While some reactions to Hulot’s tweet were praises for the initiative, other commenters questioned the effect this law—if passed—would have on France’s CO2 emissions and the public reaction, which, one commenter suggested, may not be all that favorable. Another commenter said that “French oil is clean” as production is in close proximity to refineries, it is “balance negative” on CO2 emissions, and, on a more sober note, that the local oil industry creates employment.
France is not what anyone would call a major oil producer. Its output as of February this year, according to Trading Economics, was 15,000 bpd. The country’s overseas territories are also not known for significant oil and gas production. For natural gas, France produced 18 million cubic meters in 2014.
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As for energy consumption, France is the second-largest consumer in Europe, after Germany, according to the EIA. In 2015, liquid hydrocarbons accounted for less than 33 percent of France’s primary energy consumption, but still made it the seventh-largest oil consumer globally. It is, however, a major nuclear power producer, and as such, is the second-largest electricity exporter after the U.S.
In 2016, France consumed 76.4 million metric tons of crude oil, or 560 million barrels, down from 76.8 million tons (563 million barrels) a year earlier, and down from 93 million tons (682 million barrels) a decade earlier. Imports of petroleum as of April 2017 stood at 4.324 million tons, or 31.69 million barrels for the month, down from 4.66 million tons (34.16 million barrels) in March and from 5.22 million tons (38.26 million barrels) in April 2016.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.