Fracking still not an option for Germany, says econ and climate minister
Sourcing more natural gas domestically by using fracking is still not an option for Germany, even in the light of an ensuing energy shortage if Russian gas supplies stopped flowing, economy and climate minister Robert Habeck has said. "In the northern German lowlands, we are sitting on a large amount of gas that can only be accessed by fracking,” Habeck told the newspapers of the Funke Mediengruppe. But groundwater protection legislation would make it difficult to use this technique that requires destroying deep layers of rock with the help of pressure and the use of chemical substances to extract the gas. Habeck added that it would take years to establish production. Habeck’s remarks come at a time when some politicians have been calling for a review of the government’s policy of not exploiting new oil and gas reserves. Apart from using fracking, there have been calls to access the remaining gas fields in the North Sea together with the Netherlands. Finance minister Christian Lindner from the pro-business FDP has said the exploration ban has failed to keep up with the times.
The German government said it aims to make the country independent of Russian gas supplies by 2024. Most gas consumed in Germany is imported, with only about five percent being extracted domestically. Hydraulic fracturing – the extraction method often simply referred to as “fracking” – produces fractures in the rock formation that stimulate the flow of natural gas or oil and increase the volumes that can be recovered. However, it does so by using chemicals and high amounts of pressure, which can lead to environmental damages, such as water pollution, or even earthquakes.