President of France François Hollande ruled out shale gas exploration under his administration, as the country celebrated Bastille Day.
Speaking in a televised broadcast Sunday, Hollande said: "As long as I am president, there will be no shale gas exploration in France."
Hollande also joked: "What is shale gas? It is an Eldorado that just needs to be drilled?"
Hollande added that there was a risk to groundwater due to the hydraulic fracturing techniques used and that "one sees a number of consequences of this in the United States".
France banned exploring for shale gas in 2011 despite the country – along with Poland – having the greatest potential for recoverable shale gas in Europe, according to the International Energy Agency. Schuepbach Energy, which held exploration permits in France that were cancelled as a result of the 2011 ban, recently brought a legal case to challenge the ban in the French courts.
Despite the French ban on fracking the country's leading oil and gas company, Total, is pursuing shale gas opportunities elsewhere in Europe.
At a recent event held in London that brought together parties interested in unconventional gas from industry and government, a senior executive for France's Total confirmed to Rigzone that the company was looking to invest in shale gas opportunities in the UK. Total is already involved in exploring for shale gas in Poland.
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