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France Plans to End Fossil Fuel Production by 2040
Energy

France Plans to End Fossil Fuel Production by 2040

France plans to pass legislation by the end of 2017 to phase out all oil and gas exploration and production on its mainland and overseas territories by 2040, becoming the first country to do so, according to a draft bill presented on Wednesday.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to make the country carbon neutral by 2050 and plans to curb greenhouse gas emissions by leaving fossil fuels, blamed for contributing to global warming, in the ground, Reuters reported.

Under the draft bill presented to the Cabinet on Wednesday, France will no longer issue exploration permits and the extension of current concessions will be gradually limited until they are phased out by 2040—the same year when France plans to end the sale of gasoline and diesel vehicles. The decision is, however, largely symbolic because France only produces about 6 million barrels of hydrocarbons a year, representing about 1% of its consumption. France will continue to import and refine oil for its needs.

“The law will halt the exploitation of hydrocarbons in our territory; existing concessions cannot be renewed beyond 2040,” the draft bill states.  No shale gas permit has ever been issued in France and it will be impossible to do so after the law is passed.

The law could impact companies such as French oil major Total that, although it has discontinued oil exploration in mainland France, still has permits to explore in overseas territories such as offshore Guyane Maritime in French Guiana.

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