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France to Hess: You won't drill for oil around Paris

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Staff writer ▼ | November 28, 2013
ParisFrench energy minister said that France won't allow U.S. firm Hess Corp. to explore for shale oil and gas near Paris althought the company said it would not use the banned fracking process.

Hess sought to take over seven permits granted in 2010 to Toreador, another U.S. company. A 2011 French law banning hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, had put the permits on hold. The company said it would not use the banned technology, but geological conditions in some of the permit zones would require it to resort to fracking, Energy Minister Philippe Martin said in a statement. Two of the permits have now expired and cannot be transferred to a new owner, he added.

France has blocked fracking, which involves pumping water and noxious chemicals underground, due to concerns over the environmental impact including possible contamination of groundwater.

Hess had also filed a legal case and is claiming compensation of 30,000 euros ($40,700) per permit. Mr. Martin said France would seek to reduce this amount at a December 6 court hearing.

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