FRENCH oil company Total has said it will continue to explore the potential of gaz de schiste, or shale gas, fields in the south of France.
Its Montélimar permit runs from the north of Montélimar, past Nimes towards Montpellier, and whilst legislation was passed earlier this year banning the 'fracking' technique of extraction, companies can still carry out research in the permitted areas.
And in a statement that is exactly what Total intend to do, saying they do 'not envisage the use of the hydraulic fracturing technique' but that core samples will be extracted to assess the area’s hydrocarbon potential.
Another area in the south of France was also open to exploration, the Permis de Cahors, which covers a region that extends from north of Montauban, past Cahors and towards Brive la Gaillarde.
An Isle of Man based company, 3 Legs Oil and Gas, which is a subsidiary of 3Legs Resources owns the permit for this area.
A recent update to their website features a factsheet mentioning the Cahors permit, which says the licensing application is on hold 'pending resolution of French legislative situation'.
Strong opposition to the extraction of gaz de schiste has taken place across France, with thousands joining demonstrations and MPs petitioned to ban any extraction techniques.
The process of extraction uses a method called hydraulic fracturation (fracking), which uses huge quantities of water and sand mixed with a cocktail of proprietary chemicals, and many fear this mixture will infiltrate local water sources and have a damaging impact on the environment.
Related: Drilling firms get 'wiggle room' on shale gas plans
Fighting shale gas plans in the Lot
Shale gas information - Total
If you found this useful...
+ Stay up-to-date: Get your free This French Life newsletter