Starting next year, France intends to stop giving permits for oil and gas exploration on the mainland and its overseas territories, according to a draft bill unveiled by the cabinet.
The move aims at ending all oil and gas production by 2040 as France wants to meet its carbon neutral goal as part of a broader plan to combat climate change.
The government is not going to renew current drilling licenses. However, some of the existing permits could be extended because of contracts.
An exemption will be applied to the Guyane Maritime license off French Guiana, in which France’s leading oil company Total has a stake, according to an adviser to Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot.
The country’s dependence on fossil fuels is very little. Its oil and gas output makes up just one percent of overall national consumption with the rest imported.
France currently operates 63 oil and gas drilling rigs on its territory, producing around six million barrels of hydrocarbons annually, which ranks the country 71st in the world.
At the same time, France receives about €300 million in annual oil revenue with nearly 5,000 employed in the industry.
Among the other eco-friendly measures being adopted by the French authorities are plans to close coal-fired power stations by 2022 and reduce nuclear power generation by nearly 25 percent. France has also pledged to end the sale of gasoline and diesel-powered vehicles by 2040.