Speaking on the iTele news channel, finance minister Valérie Pécresse said research into the potential of shale gas deposits in France had to continue.
This comes as ecology minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said that three permits, Nant and Villeneuve-de-Berg operated by US-owned Schuepbach and the Montélimar permit overseen by Total have been cancelled.
Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet's reasoning was that the companies had not made it clear that they would not use the controversial hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, technique to extract the deposits.
At the time Total did go on to say that it would undertake exploratory work to assess Montélimar’s hydrocarbon potential.
However, Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet has given the green light to the holders of 61 exploratory permits to continue their work, although they won’t look for shale oil and gas or will limit their operations to conventional gas and oil fields.
Anyone caught using hydraulic fracturing in France faces fines and prison under the ban.
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