France Studying Possible Ban on U.S. Shale Gas
French Energy Minister Segolene Royal said on Tuesday she is investigating legal means to ban the import of shale gas from the United States because France has banned shale gas exploration using hydraulic fracking for environmental reasons.
Royal, answering a question in parliament, said contracts signed by French gas utility Engie and power utility EDF with a U.S. producer have led to the import of LNG which contained about 40 percent shale gas.
"I have asked the two companies why they weren't vigilant, and I have also asked for an examination of a legal means for us to ban the import of shale gas," Royal said in parliament.
Fracking - which involves pumping water, sand and chemicals into the ground to free oil and gas reserves from rock formations - is responsible for a boom in U.S. oil and gas production over the past decade that has slammed energy company profits and lowered costs for consumers.
It has also been implicated in ground water pollution, and a rash of small earthquakes in places like Oklahoma and Ohio, raising concerns about its safety.
Some U.S. states, for example New York and Maryland, have passed moratoriums on fracking while they conduct studies into its environmental impacts.