U.S. Energy Information Administration logo

Projects published on Beta are not final and may contain programming errors. They are for public testing and comment only. We welcome your feedback. For final products, please visit www.eia.gov.

Last Updated: August 2016

Overview


Map of France
Map of France
  • France is Europe’s second largest consumer of energy after Germany. Because the country produces so little oil and natural gas, France relies on imports to meet most of its oil and gas consumption.
  • France is a net exporter of electricity, and is the world’s second largest producer of nuclear power generation after the United States.

Petroleum and other liquids

  • Liquid fuels account for slightly less than one-third of France’s total primary energy consumption, although this share has steadily declined in recent years. In 2015, France’s consumption levels totaled 1.6 million b/d- the seventh highest petroleum consumption level in the world.
  • According to the Oil & Gas Journal, France has a crude refining capacity of just over 1.4 million b/d, the fourth highest in Europe after Germany, Italy, and Spain.
  • The main French oil company is Total, one of the largest publicly owned oil and gas companies in the world. Total operates five of the country’s eight crude oil refineries and manages more than half of the country’s crude oil refining capacity. The company recently announced plans to convert the La Mède oil refinery into the country’s first biorefinery to help meet growing demand for biodiesel. The biorefinery is expected to become operational by 2017.

Natural gas

  • France has very little domestic natural gas production, and the French government banned the use of hydraulic fracturing in 2011. Consequently, France imported virtually all of its natural gas resources in 2015, amounting to around 1.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), according to the BP Statistical Review of World Energy.
  • France imports natural gas from the Netherlands, Norway, and Russia through a variety of cross-border pipelines. Pipeline imports of natural gas increased from 1 Tcf in 2014 to around 1.2 Tcf in 2015.
  • France also imports liquefied natural gas (LNG) from multiple countries vis-á-vis three regasification terminals. In 2015, France imported just over 210 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of LNG. Over 60% of these imports came from Algeria, with much smaller quantities of LNG from Nigeria, Norway, Peru, and Qatar.
  • France is currently constructing the Dunkirk LNG regasification terminal, which will become Europe’s fourth-largest LNG import terminal upon completion in September 2016. The Dunkirk terminal will be connected to both Frenc and Belgian markets via two separate pipelines, and will be capable of meeting 20% of the combined annual LNG consumption of France and Belgium.
  • The largest consumer of natural gas in France is the residential sector. Natural gas demand peaks in the winter as space heating demand increases. Annual consumption in France can vary significantly from year to year based on winter weather fluctuations. For instance, when Europe experienced an unusually cold winter in 2010, France’s natural gas consumption was over 10% higher than in either 2009 or 2011. An unusually warm winter in 2014 drove down natural gas consumption by about 16% compared to the previous year. Natural gas consumption increased slightly in 2015, totaling approximately 1.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf). Overall, French natural gas consumption has been trending lower since the economic crisis in 2008.

Electricity

  • The country’s primary source of electricity generation is nuclear power. France possesses 63.2 gigawatts (GW) of operable nuclear capacity, the second highest such capacity in the world after the United States. Nuclear generation in 2015 was 417 terawatthours, or about 76% of the country’s total net generation, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
  • The low cost of nuclear power generation has allowed France to become the largest net exporter of electricity in the world. France also exports nuclear reactor technology.
  • France has a closed fuel cycle, which reprocesses used nuclear fuel to reduce the volume of waste requiring disposal and to create new mixed oxide fuel for its nuclear power plants. About 17% of the country’s electricity comes from reprocessed nuclear fuel.
  • The 2006 Nuclear Materials and Waste Management Program Act declared deep geological disposal as the national approach to waste disposal. The National Radioactive Waste Management Agency (ANDRA) expects to start licensing its deep geologic repository at Bure in 2017 and begin disposal operations in 2025.
  • On July 22, 2015, the French Parliament adopted the Energy Transition for Green Growth bill, which establishes several environmental and energy goals including reducing the percentage of electricity produced in France from nuclear fuels to 50% by 2025. The bill also caps nuclear power generation at the current capacity level of 63.2 GW.