France emitted 407 million metric tons (Mmt) of carbon dioxide in 2002, the fourth-most in Europe. It also consumed 11.0 quadrillion British thermal units (Btu) of total energy, the second-largest amount in Europe. On the other hand, the energy intensity of France's economy in 2002 was well below the average for members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
France has relatively small coal reserves of 40 million short tons (Mmst). France's coal sector has declined steadily over the past several decades, as cheaper imports have replaced domestic sources. In 2002, France only produced 2.3 Mmst of coal.
France has tried to position itself as a European hub for liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports. France is one of Europe's largest consumers of LNG, and the country receives some 25% of its natural gas imports in the form of LNG.
Owned by the French government, Gaz de France (GdF) dominates all natural gas activities in the country. Prior to recent reforms (see below), GdF had a legal monopoly on the production, distribution, transportation, and importation of natural gas in the country.
GdF operates the vast majority of France's domestic pipeline system. The company operates over 19,000 miles of natural gas pipelines in France, with an overall system capacity of 5.9 Bcf/d. The GdF systems covers the entire country, with main trunk lines connecting population centers to the import entry points of Dunkerque, Montoir-de-Bretagne, Fos-Cavaou, Cerville-Velaine, and Taisnieres. GdF also maintains 0.28 Bcf of natural gas storage facilities at strategic locations in the transmission network.
At the beginning of 2005, France had about 450 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of proven natural gas reserves. France has very little domestic natural gas production; in 2003, the country consumed 1.6 trillion cubic feet (Tcf), with only 3% of that demand met from domestic sources.
In 2004, France's crude oil refining capacity was 1.95 million bbl/d, the third-largest in Europe. The largest refinery in the country is Total's Gonfreville l'Orcher facility, with a capacity of 343,000 bbl/d. Total controls some 56% of France's refining capacity.
France's crude oil production peaked in the late 1980s at 67,000 bbl/d, before declining to only 23,300 bbl/d in 2004. The Paris and Aquitaine Basins contain the bulk of France's production capacity. The largest producer of crude oil in France is Vermilion, which controlled some 25% of the sector. Vermilion also operated the single largest field in the country, the 2,850 bbl/d Parentis near Biscarrosse in southwest France.
France is a founding member of the European Union (EU) and one of Europe's most important economies. In 2004, France's gross domestic product (GDP) stood at $2.01 trillion, the second-largest in the EU. Economic growth, though, has been unremarkable in recent years, with real GDP growth of only 2.1% in 2004.