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EDF in deal to buy shale gas from US

Green groups call on ecology minister to step in – as EDF cuts energy costs for French industrial giants

ECOLOGY groups have demanded action from Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal after EDF signed a deal with an American energy company to buy in liquefied shale gas over the next 20 years.

The contract, to import 770,000 tonnes of LNG a year, is seen as a move to end European dependence on Russian gas, which has been put in doubt due to the threat of economic sanctions over Ukraine.

Green Euro-MP Yannick Jadot denounced the plan saying it went against all moves to switch energy policy away from polluting fossil fuels. He called on Ms Royal to act, noting that Électricité de France is 84% owned by the French state.

The deal was attacked as “hypocritical” by France Nature Environnement , who said it was like genetically modified foods – if production was banned in France as dangerous then shale gas should not be used at all.

EDF is initially buying 380,000 tonnes of LNG and this will rise to 770,000 tonnes a year once Cheniere opens a new liquefaction site in Corpus Christi, Texas. The gas will be loaded on to EDF’s own tankers and then shipped across the Atlantic.

The news comes as EDF has moved to cut energy prices for the biggest industrial users after a deal brokered by the government.

EDF and Exeltium, the group of large industrial energy users, said that a 24-year price deal had been revised to make it more “flexible” and this would reduce French energy costs to nearer those of rivals like German factories.

Exeltium chief Jean-Pierre Roncato said the move would make “prices competitive in the coming years” and cut the price differential to German costs. It is thought Exeltium pays €50 a megawatt-hour and this will be cut to “a market rate” of €42.

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