franc-comtois exploration license
Valorise locaaly the strategic resources of franche-comté
Discover the Avant-Monts franc-comtois project
The Avant-Monts franc-comtois project
Following bibliographic research and encouraging preliminary field measurements, 45-8 ENERGY is considering that the Jura foreland area, located in the Doubs department (25), is a promising prospective area for helium, in association with non-combustible gases (nitrogen and/or carbon dioxide) highlighted by several drillings carried out in the 1960s and 1970s.
In order to deepen the geological knowledge of the area and precise the helium and carbon dioxide contents, 45-8 ENERGY applied for the Avant-Monts franc-comtois exploration license to the Ministry of Ecological Transition, a 306sqkm area located in the North-West of the Doubs.
This license was awarded by decree signed by the Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industrial and Digital Sovereignty and the Minister for Energy Transition dated August 5, 2022.
License perimeter is voluntarily large in order to comprehensively understand the geology of this particular region with the objective to reduce it at later stage once most promising areas have been spotted. If geological hypotheses are validated, a joint valorisation of helium, carbon dioxide and any other valuable resource is targeted in order to produce them and supply locally and in an eco-responsible way two high demand markets, through small size production units.
The license was awarded for a period of 5 years in order to progressively deploy the exploration program on the entire permit.
Avant-Monts franc-comtois exploration license objectives
Deepen our geological knowledge of the area
Assess the origin and the migration paths of the gases to locate the most promising areas.
Demonstrate the technical and economic viability of a joint gases valuation project in the area
The gases of the area
Good to know
Helium, nitrogen and carbon dioxide are not combustible gases, they present no risk of explosion or fire.
The permit area
The exploration license area covers 306sqkm of the Doubs department, spread over 58 municipalities:
Audeux, Avanne-Aveney, Berthelange, Besançon*, Beure, Bonnay, Braillans, Burgille, Busy, Chalezeule, Champagney, Champvans-les-Moulins, Châtillon-le-Duc, Chaucenne, Chemaudin et Vaux, Corcelles-Ferrières, Corcondray, Courchapon, Dannemarie-sur-Crète, Decevey, Ecole-Valentin, Etrabonne, Ferrières-les-Bois, Fontain, Franey, Franois, Geneuille, Grandfontaine, Jallerange, Lantenne-Vertière, Larnod, Lavernay, Le Moutherot, Les Auxons, Mazerolles-le-Salin, Mercey-le-Grand, Mérey-Vieilley, Miserey-Salines, Montferrand-le-Château, Noironte, Pelousey, Pirey, Placey, Pouilley-Français, Pouilley-les-Vignes, Pugey, Rancenay, Recologne, Ruffey-le-Château, Saint-Vit, Serre-les-Sapins, Tallenay, Thise, Thoraise, Torpes, Velesmes-Essarts, Vieilley et Villers-Buzon.
* The Besançon urban area is not directly targeted. It has been included in application permiter for the sake of integration and communication with all stakeholders. This urban and economix area represents in particular a possible outlet for the resources that can be produced.
The program of the work
The planned work program is of limited extent and will have a very limited and strictly temporary impact on the environment. It mainly involves data acquisitions carried out with portable, indirect equipment, aiming at caracterising the subsurface without any risk for the surrounding populations.
The work program of the Avant-Monts franc-comtois exploration license aims at assessing the feasibility of a gas production project.
What happens next depends on the results. If the results are encouraging, a first production phase will be launched, as it has been done on the Fonts-Bouillants license in the French Nièvre department.
If this pilot then validates the viability of long-term production, the final infrastructures will be of small size, equivalent or even smaller than an agricultural warehouse. It will reconcile the industrial activity and the preservation of the environment through an innovative co-development, the use of state of the art eco-responsible technology and, if the area allows it, the rehabilitation of an old industrial site.
A supported project
45-8 ENERGY has received €2,88M in funding as part of the France 2030 investment plan’s “Russian, Belarusian or Ukrainian dependence” call for expressions of interest. 45-8 ENERGY’s proposal to produce helium in France would contribute to national sovereignty, a highly topical issue given that helium’s position as a strategic resource has been reinforced in the European Union’s latest list of critical resources, published in early 2023.
An environmentally engaged project
The project managed by 45-8 ENERGY aims to be eco-committed and a vector of ecological transition. In particular, French companies could thus be supplied with helium through a short and simple supply chain, thus reducing European dependency on long-distance importations carrying a heavy carbon footprint.
Carbon dioxide which could also be associated with helium in the gas mix might be managed in an eco-responsible way through mineralization. It would enable the recycling of steel slags and brines in the region, which are being accumulated and whose storage represents a large footprint on the ground, into new construction materials.
Finally, the potential fraction of natural hydrogen can easily be used and thus participate in the production of local and 100% carbon-free hydrogen, at a time when 95% of the produced hydrogen comes from steam reforming of hydrocarbons, a process that emits a lot of greenhouse gases.