German finance minister calls for lifting fracking ban
Bild am Sonntag
Germany’s finance minister Christian Lindner has renewed his call for allowing the controversial fracking technology to increase gas supplies. “The ban should be lifted,” the head of the Free Democrats (FDP) told tabloid Bild am Sonntag. “Then private investors can decide whether extraction is economical. Compared to gas from other regions of the world, I expect competitive advantages.” Lindner said that liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports are more expensive than Russian pipeline gas for logistical reasons, adding the price level will remain higher. Lindner’s position is in marked contrast to that of his coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Greens. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Green economy minister Robert Habeck have repeatedly rejected the technology.
Scholz said in December it was not worth exploiting domestic natural gas reserves using fracking technology because it would take too long to start production, and because gas demand is expected to fall. He also said there was “no support whatsoever in society for exploiting these reserves in Germany.” Scholz compared fracking to a mirage: “If you get close to it, it vanishes into thin air.” Habeck reiterated his rejection in late 2022. “This does not lead to a sensible answer,” Habeck said in November, adding the technology would lead to all sort of problems.
Unconventional fracking has been prohibited by law since 2017 in Germany. The technology is controversial in the country, largely due to residents’ worries about the environmental risks when extraction takes place in areas more densely populated than prominent producing regions like the state of Texas in the U.S..