With the price of crude oil having been up over 100 dollars a barrel, the search is on for new sources and to exploit existing ones. France, while not exactly applying for OPEC membership, does have 120 million barrels of proven oil reserves.
Emmanuel Mousset, who heads Toreador Energy which runs an oil field near Paris, said: “We produce nearly 50,000 metric tons of oil each year, that’s enough to power 10,000 to 12,000 cars for a year. And we hope -with new discoveries – to maybe double that figure.”
Crude oil production for all of France in 2006 (the last year for which figures are available) was 21,500 barrels per day whereas the French used just under two million barrels each day. A drop in the barrel maybe but enough to supply the country for five days.
France may not be producing gushers, but industry experts point out that this oil – at a depth of just 600 metres and on land – is a lot easier to extract than that under the North Sea.
As well as in the Paris Basin there is drilling in the Aquitaine region in the South West and in Alsace and oil companies are undertaking more exploration to find further fields.