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France worries about shale drilling

Environmental impact assessment demanded by minister

DRILLING shale for oil and gas in France should begin only after a parliamentary study into its environmental impact, ecology minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet says. The government has already issued six permits in the Paris basin, believed to hold oil and gas in shale formations. But Kosciusko-Morizet says she will use “all legal means” to prevent drilling before a study into the practice is complete.

A commission is due to publish a report to parliament in June. An industry body said the minister’s intervention had created “great uncertainty about work that has already begun”. Local firm Toreador Resources, in partnership with US independent Hess, was planning to begin drilling the Paris basin within weeks. Total and other companies have also expressed interest in exploring French shales.


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