Judging by my experience with French Shale Gas antis, their pensions are of particular concern. A key indicator of how good a return they'll get depends on the financial health of Total SA, the French oil supermajor which as the largest company in France makes up over 14% of the CAC 40 Paris Stock Exchange Index.
One thing about being a supermajor is that you if you can't drill in your own backyard, you can go drill in someone elses and this is one big backyard:
French major Total has become the latest industry heavyweight to take a foothold in the nascent Australian shale gas sector, striking a deal worth up to $190 million with Central Petroleum to farm into four exploration permits in the South Georgina Basin.
Three of the permits, which cover about 25,000 sq km (9,652 sq miles) in central Australia, are located in Queensland and one is in the Northern Territory.
Total has already invested the French anti's pensions in the Utica Shale in Ohio.
Total SA, France’s largest oil company, acquired a $2.32 billion holding in Ohio’s Utica shale region from Chesapeake Energy Corp. and EnerVest Ltd.
A little closer to home, at least Total gets to invest in their home continent.
Total SA (FP), France’s largest oil company, will pursue the search for shale gas in Poland by drilling another well, even after partner Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) pulled out following “disappointing” results.
Total has also invested in shale ventures in the U.S. and Argentina and has said it’s studying the potential for projects in China.
French pensioners get to keep their standard of living thanks to shale gas, underlining how most of the opposition in Europe is pure nimbyism.
I think it's also a battle of the old and vested against the young and the unemployed and further proof of that came yesterday in a long awaited report from France on industrial competivity The Gallois Report had 19 propositions and the fifth is interesting:
In most scenarios of energy transition, the share of gas increases or can not be reduced in the medium term. We advocate for research on technical exploitation of shale gas to be continued. France could also take the initiative to propose with Germany and it'sts European partners on this program. The exploitation of shale gas supports the initiation of re-industrialization found in the United States (the gas is now two and a half times cheaper than in Europe) and reduces pressure on its trade balance very significantly.
conduct research on techniques for exploiting shale gas.
But despite the rest of the report being debated, the government has made clear that shale gas is off the table. Allegedly.
First we have the reaction of the EELV (Green Party) who
It did not take much for the Greens out the heavy artillery. In leading the fight against the Gallois Proposals, Jean-Vincent Place , President of the Senate group EELV, shale gas "is an impassable red line" that would undermine the agreement signed PS-EELV before the presidential election. "We already subjects of discontent with the EPR , environmental taxation, energy transition and the proposed new airport Nantes Notre-Dame-des-Landes. We can not go on shale gas. This would be done in violation of commitments and contempt of ourselves. And that we will not allow. "
Fighting words. I know French pretty well, but don't know what French for give them enough rope to hang themselves is. Because that could well be what's going on. The EELV flatter themsselves on their power.They forget that Prime Minister Ayrault can govern without them, and certainly on something that much of the oppoisiton would also support. Armand Montebourg, popular on the left of the Socialist Party and the Minister of Industrial Renewal has always been a fan of shale but now he has another ally in Alain Vidal,
Asked during "Talk Orange-Le Figaro" on the statements of his colleague (Montebourg) the Minister for Relations with Parliament assured "that none of us (the government, Ed) think that shale gas is something is going away forever"
We've seen over the summer that the employer's federation is very supportive of shale gas and even more significant. the head of the CGT trade union group has placed them in opposition to the Greens over economic growth and jobs.
Could it be that Hollande is using Green opposition to shale as an excuse for his own failings? Stranger things have happened in French politics. But Greens in the UK who also flatter themselves over popular support could learn an important lesson from the potential fate of their French allies. Coalitions are complicated. But when push comes to shove, parties with little electoral backing but lots of noise will find themselves set up. With organic rope around their necks.