A fracking drilling site operates in close proximity to a farm at the Niobrara oil shale formation in Weld County, northeastern Colorado on May 30, 2012. Gas and oil companies are using large amounts of water to obtain shale oil and gas in a process called hydraulic fracturing or fracking. UPI/Gary C. Caskey | License Photo
PARIS, March 15 (UPI) -- Environmental activists in France say they are worried the country may reverse its 2001 ban on hydraulic fracturing.
The potential of huge oil and gas reserves under French land has some lawmakers discussing whether or not to reverse the ban, alarming anti-fracking campaigners, Radio France Internationale reported Friday.
About 24 people gathered in the town of Jouarre to protest at a Hess Oil France facility that they say is building an oil rig platform for fracking in anticipation of a law change
"We're here to say: we know. You have to know we are here, we know that you cannot avoid fracking, so don't tell us you will not do it," protester Isabelle Levy said.
Levy said France's anti-fracking law bans hydraulic fracturing, a process of extracting gas and oil from shale rock underground, without defining it and she suspects oil companies like Hess Oil France will try to use other methods to extract oil that will have the same result.
"It will be called 'stimulation,'" Levy said. "The name is different, so the ban on fracking will remain, but not on stimulation."
Meanwhile, Socialist Member of Parliament Christian Bataille said he is investigating other options of extracting shale oil and gas from beneath France.
"People I have met are convinced that we have a very large reserve of shale gas in France, corresponding no doubt to several hundreds of years' of consumption," he said at his office at the National Assembly in Paris. "France cannot ignore this kind of resource right under its feet."