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France commits to ban any new hydrocarbon exploration license

Nicolas Hulot, France’s new Minister of Ecology, declared that French government will present a new law to forbid the issue of any new license to explore hydrocarbons in France and overseas France, as part of a plan to be presented in July, 2017.

These statements are in line with declarations by Emmanuel Macron in February, when he was still a candidate for the presidential election, saying that he opposes search for shale gas in metropolitan France.

Regarding French territory overseas, Mr. Macron had even considered terminating the licenses to exploit hydrocarbons, which includes oil drilling in Guyana. Mr. Hulot considered it difficult to act at the level of exploitation rather than exploration, considering that such a strategy would open the door to numerous disputes between the State and the companies concerned.

Stopping hydrocarbon exploration will be a key element of a broader plan to be presented by Mr. Hulot in July, intended to be adopted by Fall. The minister also expressed his wish to act "fairly quickly" to align taxation of diesel, currently more advantageous than for gasoline. 

Source: Le Monde