France to halt exploration licensing

France will halt oil and gas exploration licensing, according to Nicolas Hulot, minister for the ecological and intrusive transition under the new government of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

Hulot, a journalist and environmental activist appointed to the ministry position last month, said the government will introduce legislation halting exploration licensing in the fall.

Under current procedures, companies may apply for exploration licenses at any time. Applications deemed technically and financially acceptable are opened to competition from other potential applicants before licenses are granted.

Three companies account for 95% of French oil production of about 15,000 b/d.

They are Vermilion Energy Inc., Lundin Petroleum AB, and Geopetrol SA.

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