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Market Report, "France Oil & Gas Report Q3 2013", Published

New Energy market report from Business Monitor International: "France Oil & Gas Report Q3 2013"

 
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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 07/18/2013 -- Since the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and the 2012 presidential elections, French dependence on nuclear energy has been under the spotlight and has been set to be diluted in favour of renewables. President Hollande has restated a goal of reducing nuclear generation from 75% to 50% of the electricity mix. This also leaves the door open for gas to play a larger role. However, given the influence of the nuclear lobby in France, Hollande's cabinet is likely to struggle to achieve these targets. Overall, the future of energy growth is uncertain and the outlook for refiners and fuel distributors remains poor.

The main trends and developments in the French oil & gas sector are:

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- President Hollande in September 2012 reiterated France's moratorium on hydraulic fracturing (fraccing), which effectively bans exploration for shale oil and gas and dashed industry hopes that he might soften his stance. During the keynote address at the Environmental Summit in Paris, the French president said that he had rejected seven applications to open up shale gas acreage to exploration and that this would be his policy throughout his term in office. At the same time, he restated a goal of reducing nuclear generation from 75% to 50% of the electricity mix, although his cabinet might struggle to achieve this target given the weight of France's nuclear lobby.
- Despite a few dusters and disappointments, deepwater exploration offshore French Guiana continues apace. The overseas territory has attracted increasing attention since Tullow's September 2011 discovery of 72 metres (m) of net oil pay.
- On April 16 2013, the tribunal of Rouen rejected the offers made by Panama's NetOil and Libya's Murzuq Oil for the 161,800 barrels-a-day (b/d) Petit-Couronne refinery which used to be owned by now insolvent Petroplus. These were the only remaining offers. Although Murzaq Oil has said that it remains interested in the plant, alongside two other potential bidders - Luxembourg's GTSA and another unknown bidder -, the plant's liquidator, Beatrice Pascual, affirmed that these were 'groundless letters of intent (LoI)'. With no positive denouement in sight, a social plan is currently being implemented for the plant's 448 employees and we see it likely that the facility will be converted into an oil storage terminal.
- Operations at LyondellBasel's Berre-l'Etang refinery were suspended in January 2012. The US firm initiated a programme to mothball the 105,000b/d facility in south-eastern France after announcing on May 31 2011 that it was looking for a buyer. The company has given itself until the end of 2013 to sell the plant. In November 2012, the Ministry for Productive Renewal asserted that Indonesia's Pertamina had shown interest for the plant.

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