Drilling in France
7 September 2017

France, the first country to prohibit exploitation of hydrocarbons

At a meeting of the Council of Ministers held on Wednesday 6 September, the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition presented the bill putting an end to exploration and exploitation of conventional and unconventional hydrocarbons (shale gases, oil sands, etc.).
 
The bill putting an end to exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons is the first concrete expression of the Climate Plan presented by the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition last July. It is “a strong signal, when we all know that in order to comply with the Paris Agreement and keep global warming below 2°C, over 80% of known fossil fuel resources must be left where they are beneath the surface”, Nicolas Hulot reminded his fellow Ministers.
 
France has therefore become the first country in the world to prohibit exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons on its territory. For the record, national production of oil and gas in France accounts for 1% of national consumption. “With this bill, France takes on its role as leader in the fight against climate change and encourages other countries to join it in its commitment, in keeping with the Paris Agreement”, the Minister for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition stated.
 
The bill makes exploration and exploitation of shale gases illegal and enables a progressive and irreversible stop to be made to production of oil and gas on French territory by 2040.
 
  • Existing exploitation concessions may not be renewed beyond 2040 and no new hydrocarbon exploration permits will be issued. Legally acquired situations, however, will be respected.
 
  • From the time hydrocarbon exploration is prohibited and no further shale gas exploration permits awarded, exploitation of shale gas will no longer be possible in France.
 
National production will come to an end in stages, concurrently with the decrease in fossil fuel consumption, which will be encouraged by other measures included in the Climate Plan, such as putting an end to sales of petrol- and gas-driven cars by 2040.
 
Henceforth “things are clear: there’s the past, permits that were issued but whose days are numbered, and the future, a world without fossil fuels”, Nicolas Hulot asserted.
 
 
More information on the Climate Plan