Brive shale oil drilling banned

Shale oil drilling plan banned - Photo: Varodrig

Ecology minister rules out proposals to drill exploration wells in area covering parts of Corrèze, Lot and Dordogne

A BID to drill exploration wells for shale oil [gaz de houille] near Brive – and covering the departments of Corrèze, Lot and Dordogne – has been “definitively” rejected by Ecology Minister Philippe Martin.

Singapore-based energy company Hexagon Gas had applied in 2010 for permission to drill over an area of 1,800sq.km and Mr Martin said in a statement that his decision “puts a definite end to the possibility of this company’s explorations in the affected zone”.

The decision, which follows an earlier preliminary ruling by previous ecology minister Delphine Batho, is a great relief to the thousands who have demonstrated in both Brive and Sarlat, in Dordogne. Last June, 1,500 people took to the streets in Brive and 1,000 in Sarlat to protest about the plan.

The zone, called the “Permis de Brive”, borders the Cahors and Beaumont-de-Lomagne sites that were previously refused permission to explore for shale gas in 2012.

Mr Martin said that the company “had not given any of the guarantees necessary and the impact assessment notice that it had supplied was insufficient for serious evaluation of the operations involved”.

Ms Batho had said in her ruling that she had doubts over the company’s real plans as they revealed no indication of shale oil while its drilling proposals were at depths of 1,000m, and more like those for an exploration for shale gas.

She added that she would not allow France to be “turned into a giant gruyère”.

In 2011 the Sarkozy government passed a law banning the only known technique for extracting shale gas and oil, hydraulic fracturing.

Previous related articles:
Fracking ban is upheld
Prime minister rejects shale gas
Brive shale gas plans rejected
Photo: Varodrig

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