Total CEO calls for French shale gas ban to be lifted

2/17/2013

Total CEO calls for French shale gas ban to be lifted

BY GERALDINE AMIEL

PARIS -- The ban on shale gas fracturing in France should be lifted, Total Chairman and CEO Christophe de Margerie said. "The first thing to do for a proper debate is to know what we're talking about. Today, we're speaking about something that hasn't even been studied," Mr. de Margerie said.

France in 2011 banned all shale gas extraction through hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, because of environmental concerns and fears over polluting water tables. Even though the country is believed to harbor one of Europe's largest shale gas reserves, the ban was confirmed by the President Francois Hollande's government when it came to power last year, to the dismay of industrials and energy groups, which claim that shale gas could contribute to energy independence and lower energy prices, helping boosting French companies' competitiveness.

In spite of the renewed ban and the lack of additional studies over the potential shale gas reserves, the debate between environmentalists and shale gas supporters in France has remained heated.

Dow Jones Newswires

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