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Total to challenge French fracking ban

Nov. 29, 2011 at 8:44 AM

PARIS, Nov. 29 (UPI) -- French supermajor Total said it would try to persuade the French government to repeal its ban on hydraulic fracturing of natural gas deposits in the country.

Total had permits to explore around 1,670 square miles of land in southern France for shale natural gas deposits. The French government in October revoked the permits following a July ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Total Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie said his company plans to appeal the French decision, the Platts news service reports.

Critics of fracking claim the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing fluid could contaminate water supplies. Advocates note that potentially harmful chemicals in fracking fluid account for less than 1 percent of the mixture.

Ukraine and Poland, other countries rich in shale, have plans to go ahead with the process. London said shale gas was a part of the country's energy mix despite a small temblor reportedly tied to fracking.

The company has until Dec. 12 to either appeal directly to the French government or file a claim in court.

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