top cx logo
cx logo
Explorearrow down
search icon

Oil drilling is halted

Ecology minister stops Shell from starting exploration well for "rethink" on how permits are approved

OIL GIANT Shell has been prevented by the Ecology Ministry from starting drilling work on a new exploration well 150km off the coast of the French overseas department of Guyane.

The move, said to be because the company did not have the permits necessary, came as the ministry said it was preparing an in-depth look at how oil and gas drilling permits are agreed.

After the on-off saga of the permits for shale gas exploration in mainland France Ecology Minister Nicole Bricq said it was "vital to reexamine the situation left by the previous government".

She said that she and Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg had agreed that Shell's exploration plans - the original permit was agreed in 2001 and has been extended without work starting three times - should be put on hold, as it had not taken enough account of possible environmental problems.

The company plans to use oil-based drilling mud for the wells and the ministry said this was a pollutant that could endanger the deep-sea environment and harm wildlife such as turtles, whales and seabirds.

Part of Bricq's intention, she said, was to look at the Code Minier, the rules that govern underground exploration which date from 1810 and which were denounced during the shale gas protests as out of date.

While a senator in the previous parliament she had called on President Sarkozy for an urgent reform of the code before any new fossil fuel exploration was authorised.

The delays to the Shell project are also likely to have an impact on the plans by exploration group Toreador-Hess to start drilling for shale oil in the Paris Basin.

Resident or second-home owner in France?
Benefit from our daily digest of headlines and how-to's to help you make the most of life in France
By joining the newsletter, you agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy
See more popular articles
The Connexion Help Guides
featured helpguide
Visa and residency cards for France*
Featured Help Guide
- Visas and residency cards (cartes de séjour) for France help guide - Understand when visas and residency cards are required to move to France or come for an extended stay - Applies to Britons (post-Brexit) and to all other non-EU/non-EEA/Swiss nationalities - Useful to anyone considering a move to France, whether for work or otherwise, or wanting to spend more than three months at their French second home
Get news, views and information from France
You have 2 free subscriber articles left
Subscribe now to read unlimited articles and exclusive content
Already a subscriber? Log in now