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A demonstrator sits on top of a tanker outside the entrance to the IGas Energy exploratory gas drilling site at Barton Moss near Manchester in northern England January 13, 2014. British local councils that allow shale gas developments will keep 100 percent of a levy they collect from the sites under a government move to persuade communities to accept the fracking process used to extract the gas.
A demonstrator sits on top of a tanker outside the entrance to the IGas Energy exploratory gas drilling site at Barton Moss near Manchester in northern England January 13, 2014. British local councils that allow shale gas developments will keep 100 percent of a levy they collect from the sites under a government move to persuade communities to accept the fracking process used to extract the gas.
(Phil Noble/Reuters)

Fracking bans force Europe back to dirty fuels

The rift in Europe over energy policy is as wide as the Channel and it was underlined today when Total SA, the French oil multinational, placed a bet on shale gas exploration in the United Kingdom. In the wake of a French government ban on hydraulic fracturing of shale, Total has decided to cross the water in order to spend up to $48-million (U.S.) on a share in two exploration licences in Lincolnshire. The investment coincided with an announcement by the British government that local councils would get a bigger-than-expected share of tax revenues from the proceeds of shale gas drilling.