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France Discusses Ban Of Imported U.S. Shale Gas

After French media accuses government of hypocrisy, French Energy Minister Segolene Royal is discussing with French parliament a potential ban on the import of U.S. shale gas.

The issue arose out of concerns expressed by some members of French parliament that American LNG exports to Europe have contained natural gas that is 40 percent shale gas—which environmentalists and some lawmakers argue contradicts France’s own ban on shale gas exploitation using hydraulic fracturing.

Two French companies, Electricite de France (EDF) and gas utility Engie, have previously signed contracts to buy U.S. LNG from, while the French state has a large interest in both, and a 75-percent ownership stake in EDF.

Related: Petrobras Offloads $1.4B In Assets Amidst Political Turmoil

France’s Socialist government has been under pressure from environmentalists not only to ensure that fracking never takes place on French territory, but also to ensure that no fracked gas enters its territory.

“It’s total hypocrisy,” Paul Reynard, Stop Shale Gas spokesperson, told reporters. “Hydraulic fracturing is forbidden in France to avoid pollution but we’ll buy shale gas from elsewhere that will penalize local populations."

“We don’t care about others. We won’t pollute our own garden but we’ll pollute someone else’s.”

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The U.S. is the world’s biggest exporter of shale gas with cargo ships already having been sent off to Brazil, Argentina, Portugal and Belgium.

Fracking was banned in France back in 2011 for environmental reasons. Last year, French media leaked a government-commissioned report that looked into a safer alternative to fracking for shale gas.

In Europe, only a handful of countries—including Denmark, Poland and the U.K.- are actively pursuing shale gas resources.

By James Burgess of Oilprice.com

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  • GREG FOREMAN on May 11 2016 said:
    Oh, by the way, I failed to mention France is the world's largest producer of nuclear energy. As such, any fuel source is a threat to their, the French's, current energy "status quo". With literally billions of Francs invested in nuclear power, one doesn't have to wonder off the beaten path very far to understand why they would drum up ridiculous opposition to a competing from of energy.
  • Nick Grealy on May 11 2016 said:
    This is what happens when the ''conventional' gas industry failed to fight for natural gas in France. 'Unconventional' natural gas sounded scary, but of course the difference is academic. But France banned it and their example is cited by gas opponents worldwide, including the US.

    See more about this at nohotair.co.uk . And by the way, since 50 percent of US oil is unconventional does this also apply?
  • Greg ForemanI' on May 10 2016 said:
    Fracking is not the problem...the waste water disposal, a by product of fracking, is the problem. The problem with respect to the waste water produced fracked wells is the quantity produced and the water's toxicity, it is primarily salt water. Solving for the second problem, toxicity, negates the first, the quantity produced. If dirty, oil sand oil can be refined to a marketable product, then technology capable of "refining" the salt water produced by fracked production allowing it to be safe for public disposal must exist.
    Oh yeah, with respect to the French's position...well they're just plain stupid anyway...who cares!

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