From Bloomberg News:
By Tara Patel
Jun 6, 2013 5:42 AM ET
France’s ban on hydraulic fracturing should be eased to estimate the size of its shale oil and gas reserves, according to a parliamentary report.
Dozens of exploration wells could be drilled in regions where seismic data has indicated promising reserves, a report by a French parliamentary commission showed.
“We have to estimate our reserves more precisely,” Deputy Christian Bataille told a press conference today. Shale oil in the Paris Basin appears “promising” while data on shale gas in southwestern France is outdated, he said.
The recommendations would require changes to France’s 2011 fracking ban implemented by former President Nicolas Sarkozy. His successor Francois Hollande has said he supports the ban. The country’s business lobbies have stepped up a campaign in recent months in favor of shale energy development, which commonly uses fracking. They argue it would help reverse France’s industrial decline, raise competitiveness through cheaper energy supplies and lower unemployment.
“Everything rests in the way the drilling is carried out,” Senator Jean-Claude Lenoir said at today’s press conference. “We have many regulations about industrial sites that could apply” to avoid enviromental damage.
Publication of the report comes a day after Energy Minister Delphine Batho rejected any move to relax the ban, citing“considerable” environmental damage in the U.S. caused by the method.
Earthquakes, aquifer pollution, heavy metal contamination, increased truck traffic and damage to the countryside are consequences of fracking, the minister said in a radio debate.
“The U.S. has invented environmental dumping,” Batho said. “Gas prices in the U.S. don’t take into account the cost of environmental damage that future generations will have to pay.”
France and Poland have the greatest potential for recoverable shale gas in Europe, the International Energy Agencyhas said. The French anti-fracking law would allow some forms of drilling for research purposes under highly controlled conditions, something the government has so far blocked.
Chesapeake Energy Corp,the Oklahoma-based firm is the No. 1 driller in Ohio.
Rig Count Interactive Map by Baker Hughes, an energy services company.
Shale Sheet Fracking, a Youngstown Vindicator blog.
The Ohio Environmental Council, a statewide eco-group based in Columbus.
Earthjustice, a national eco-group.
People's Oil and Gas Collaborative-Ohio, a grass-roots group in Northeast Ohio.
Concerned Citizens of Medina County, a grass-roots group.
No Frack Ohio, a Columbus-based grass-roots group.
Fracking: Gas Drilling's Environmental Threat by ProPublica, an online journalism site.
Pipeline, blog from Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Marcellus shale drilling.
Allegheny Front, environmental public radio for Western Pennsylvania.