Total Lodges Appeal Against French Shale Gas Ban

French energy company Total has said it has lodged an appeal against the withdrawal of its permit to explore and excavate shale gas in France, following a ban by the French government on hydraulic fracturing.

Speaking at a conference in Paris, Managing Director of Total Gas Shale Europe, Bruno Courme, said that the company were appealing the withdrawal of permits based on their legality.

He said the company "respects the law" but said, "Our position is that the law does not justify the withdrawal of our permits."

In October of last year, the French government withdrew three shale gas permits previously granted. Total held one of the permits, while American company Schuepbach Energy held the other two.

The decision to withdraw the permits was motivated by a change in the law banning the use of hydraulic fracturing to locate and withdraw shale gas. 

Total's plans at the time did not mention fracking but Minister for Ecology Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet rejected the claim that Total would use other avenues for shale gas extraction.

"Total announced that it also wants to continue looking for shale gas with techniques that are not hydraulic fracturing but we know today that such technologies are not operational," she told AFP following the permit withdrawal.

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