Shale oil, gas research in France put on hold

Doris Leblond
OGJ Correspondent

PARIS, Feb. 14 -- Shale oil and gas research in France is on hold until the end of June. Companies holding research permits, whether for shale oil or gas, have agreed to postpone any planned work until the conclusions of a joint mission established by Energy Minister Eric Besson and Environment Minister Nathalie Koschiusko-Morizet to study and analyze the economic, social, and environmental impacts of shale exploration.

The companies, which included Schuepbach Energy LLC and Total Gas Shale Europe, met Feb. 10 with the ministers to outline their projects. Both firms are involved in shale gas research in southeastern France.

Schuepbach and Total Gas assured the ministers they would not drill any well or carry out any technical ground operations until the missions’ report was concluded. Schuepbach has no drilling plans before October, when it plans to drill two wells. Total, meanwhile, has no drilling plans before early 2012.

Toreador Energy, which paired with Hess Oil France for oil shale research in the Paris basin, agreed to postpone the drilling of two vertical wells: one on the Chateau-Thierry permit and another on the Mairy permit.

Vermilion Rep, which is also looking for oil shale in the Paris basin, was planning a hydraulic fracturing test on three existing wells by the end of February on the Donnemarie, Champotran, and Chaunoy concessions. Vermilion will now have to postpone these for 4 months. It was also planning to core test on a vertical well on the Saint-Just-en-Brie permit as well as a well on the Champotran concession. Both tests now are postponed.

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