France has become the first country to ban fracking. The drilling technique has come under increased scrutiny due to a rapid increase in its use for the production of shale gas. Bloomberg reports:
Energy companies that plan to use fracking to produce oil and gas in France will have their permits revoked and its use could lead to fines and prison, according to the law passed by a vote of 176 in favor, 151 against by the senators in Paris.
Under the bill approved yesterday, companies with exploration permits will have two months to declare whether they intend to use hydraulic fracturing. If they do, their permits will be revoked.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, pumps water, sand and chemicals underneath shale formations to force out trapped gas or oil. The discovery of massive reservoirs around the U.S. has caused a shale gas boom, driving down prices and encouraging additional investment in natural gas infrastructure. While the U.S. and Canada lead the market, Australia, China India and various European countries have also started using the fracking technique for shale gas.
While some organizations like the IEA call this “The Golden Age of Gas,” the environmental issues around fracking have tainted the resource’s image: some communities around the U.S. are complaining of contaminated water; researchers have reported on methane leaks in water supplies and also suggested that the lifecycle GHG footprint is higher than assumed; and a recent examination of industry documents suggests that estimates of shale gas reservoirs may be over-estimated – with one analyst suggesting they were “a giant Ponzi Scheme.”
At the same time, a mix of natural gas and renewables is a powerful combination in knocking older, dirtier coal plants out of the mix. Some analysts believe that could be a strong driver of clean energy, while others worry low natural gas prices will harm renewables.
It’s unclear whether the French ban on fracking will embolden political leaders or environmental groups in other countries to do the same. In the U.S., New York is opening itself up to more fracking. In New Jersey, legislators passed a ban on the technique, even as the state seeks to build 2 GW of new natural gas plants.
This latest ban in France shows just how divided people are over harnessing the resource.
Below are the earlier comments from the Facebook commenting system:
Surfacing and catching up with lots of stuff. Could French decision have been swayed by its ample supply of nuclear generated electricity? Kind of inverse policy to that signaled by New York Gov. last week:
Cuomo Clarifies Fracking and Nuclear Plans – http://nyti.ms/jOJpTv.
July 7 at 7:16pm
How do we explain this? “Toreador to continue oil shale work in France despite fracking ban” | http://www.platts.com/RSSFeedDetailedNews/RSSFeed/NaturalGas/8083470
July 7 at 7:22pm
I think they were just upset that it’s not spelled “fracqing.”
July 7 at 7:29pm
France 2, USA 0 (the first point was Iraq).
Yeah. France wanted to keep a brutal dictator in place to torture and kill hundreds of thousands. Fortunately, we stepped in, as we did in Germany and Japan, and gave them Democracy. Shame on the USA. Yahoo France.
July 9 at 4:43pm
“At the same time, a mix of natural gas and renewables is a powerful combination in knocking older, dirtier coal plants out of the mix.”
I Disagree, because latest science have shown otherwise.
Studies Agree: Shale gas full cycle greenhouse gas emissions are higher than coal.
Way to go.
Viv’ La France.
My take on this story.
Climate Action: France Bans Fracking for Shale Gas.
In order to combat climate change we have to ban fossil exploitation.
Well, we could follow France’s lead and get more of our energy needs from nuclear.
July 9 at 4:46pm