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France to ban oil and gas exploration

© AFP/File | Demonstrators protest against shale gas exploration in Barjac, southern France, in February 2016

PARIS (AFP) - 

France is to stop granting new licences for oil and gas exploration on the mainland and in overseas territories, Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said Friday.

"There will be no new exploration licences for hydrocarbons, we will pass the law this autumn," Hulot said on BFMTV.

President Emmanuel Macron said during his election campaign in February that he was opposed to exploration for gas and shale gas in mainland France.

Macron even said he would like to see the exploitation of oil and gas halted altogether in France's overseas territories, especially in French Guiana on the northeastern coast of South America.

But Hulot, an environmental campaigner and former TV star before he joined the cabinet last month, said it would currently be impossible to take such a move without triggering lawsuits from energy companies.

© 2017 AFP