France bans hydraullic fracturing for shale oil and gas development

By Phaedra Friend Troy

Lawmakers in France voted to officially ban the use of hydraulic fracturing as a completion method to develop shale oil and gas formations in the country.

The French Senate followed the National Assembly in voting to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing in the country. France is the first country to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing, as the oil and gas development method has come under fire recently across the globe.

Performed at least a mile below the surface, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a form of Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) that involves pumping large amounts of water and fluids into a tight formation to break the rock and release hydrocarbons trapped in the reservoir.

Hydraulic fracturing has been used successfully for more than six decades on more than a million wells, according to the American Petroleum Institute (API), and has been recently applied to shale and unconventional formations to unlock prolific oil and natural gas production onshore the US. 

Drilling, Development Continue in France

Toreador Resources Corporation (Nasdaq:TRGL), which is currently developing shale resources in the Paris Basin of France, is continuing its unconventional efforts -- without using hydraulic fracturing.

"Notwithstanding the new law, we believe the oil resource potential of the Paris Basin can create jobs, provide local economic development, generate substantial revenues for the State and benefit all stakeholders," said Craig McKenzie, president and CEO of Toreador. "We reaffirm our commitment to define and develop this basin to reach its potential for all stakeholders, in compliance with French legislation and through cooperation with French authorities."

Toreador stressed that the company is not fracking any of its wells in France.

"The company has been able to significantly advance its assessment of traditional exploration and development opportunities across its entire Paris Basin portfolio," McKenzie added.

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