The move may be largely symbolic—France produces only 1% of the oil and gas it uses—but legislation introduced earlier this month and expected to become law by the end of the year includes a sunset date of 2040 for all remaining French petroleum output.
More materially, and sooner, France will stop granting new exploration permits for oil and gas next year, according to a draft bill presented to cabinet September 5. The legislation begins to make good on, and expands on, plans that then-newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron first unveiled in June.
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The legislation would enable the French government to deny more than three dozen exploration permits for oil and gas currently under consideration, but allow exploration to continue off French Guiana, Bloomberg reports, citing an adviser to Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot. In July, Hulot announced that France would also ban the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040.
The Globe and Mail reports that the biggest corporate loser in the proposed ban on domestic production of oil and gas from French soil will be a Canadian company. Calgary-based Vermilion Energy Inc. “produces about 11,400 barrels of oil a day in France, roughly 16% of its overall output,” and about three-quarters of the country’s entire domestic production.
“It thus stands to be more affected than most by a draft climate change bill that would make France the first country in the world to ban all domestic hydrocarbon production,” the Toronto paper writes.
The mid-sized fossil, which produces 58% of its output from on- and offshore oil and gas wells in Australia, the Netherlands, France, Germany, Ireland, and the United States, took the measure in stride. “We do not expect this new legislation, if passed, to have a material impact on Vermilion,” it said in a release. “Our operations are focused on development activities such as well-workovers, infill drilling, and waterflood optimization.”