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Oil. France announces a moratorium on drilling in the Mediterranean

Il ministro dell’Ambiente Ségolène Royal ha annunciato una moratoria sulla ricerca di petrolio in mare: “Rischiamo conseguenze drammatiche”.

French Environment and Energy Minister Ségolène Royal has announced the introduction of an “immediate” moratorium on permits to search for hydrocarbons in the Mediterranean Sea. This is due to the high environmental risks of drilling.

 

While Italy will carry out a referendum vote on offshore drilling on 17 April, Paris is making a historic decision, by imposing a halt due to, on the one hand, the need of protecting the environment, on the other hand the will of adopting a transition to other sources of energy.

 

 

Ségolène Royal Francia
French Environment Minister Ségolène Royal © Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images

Drilling up to 200 miles from the coast will be banned

“Given the dramatic consequences that can strike the whole Mediterranean in case of an oil drilling accident,” Royal decided to implement an immediate moratorium, “both in France’s territorial waters (up to 12 miles from the coast) and in the exclusive economic zone (up to 200 miles from the coast)”.

 

There’s more: Royal said that she will ask for “the extension of this moratorium on the whole Mediterranean in the framework of the convention of Barcelona on the protection of marine environment and the Mediterranean coast”. French Minister Royal made her announcement on 8 April, in occasion of the second national conference on ecological transition of sea and ocean, in which participated numerous research institutes and NGOs.

 

Referendum trivelle Greenpeace
Greenpeace protesting against drilling © Gabriele Mastrilli/Greenpeace

Oil is incompatible with the energy transition

France’s stance is clear: last January, Royal declared that any request of permits to search for oil would have been rejected. Hydrocarbons’ exploitation, continued the Minister, is in conflict with regulations contained in the energy transition law, promulgated in France in August 2015, which includes a reduction in fossil fuel consumption.

 

Cover photo ©Albatross via Getty Images

 

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