France observing fracking developments

Nov. 6, 2013 at 8:05 AM

LONDON, Nov. 6 (UPI) -- Despite a moratorium, France is observing developments in the shale natural gas sector with keen interest, a French development official said.

Last month, a constitutional court in France upheld a 2011 ban on shale drilling, a practice dubbed fracking. The French government described it as an environmental victory.

Benjamin Gallezot, a spokesman for the French industrial redevelopment ministry, told delegates at an international gas conference in London the French government was "listening carefully" to the conversation on shale, the Platts news service reported Tuesday.

Last week's British government report on hydraulic fracturing, a process used to extract natural gas from shale formations, dispelled many of the environmental questions surrounding the practice. Opponents say the practice could lead to groundwater contamination and higher greenhouse gas emissions.

The French Association of Environmental Health last year said the chemicals used during hydraulic fracturing present health risks.

Gallezot said France was observing patiently, however, while it considers the prospects for more natural gas imports by way of liquefied natural gas.

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