• Germany's news in English
 

Ministers reach cautious fracking agreement

The Local · 26 Feb 2013, 13:38

Published: 26 Feb 2013 13:38 GMT+01:00

Economy Minister Philipp Rösler and Environment Minister Peter Altmaier reached a hard-won agreement on restrictions for using the contentious method to extract natural gas from rock.

"Fracking offers considerable opportunities, but we have to keep the potential effects on the environment in mind," said Rösler on Tuesday.

"That's what we are now implementing. The industry has said it will develop environmentally friendly methods," he added.

Altmaier emphasised that potential risks for citizens would have to be ruled out with careful, rigorous studies into the environmental impact to be conducted at each proposed site.

"Safety and environmental protection have priority over economic interests," the minister said. "It's a signal that we're serious about protecting the environment and

people."

A joint draft proposal from the two ministries released on Tuesday would ban fracking in areas where there are water reserves and mineral springs.

This is a concession to serious public concerns about safety, as well as the environmental and health effects of the technology.

"Domestic oil and gas production will continue to make a substantial contribution to the security of supply and price stability in Germany," as the country has pledged to abandon nuclear energy entirely by 2022, the ministries said.

Estimates put Germany's underground gas reserves at up to 2.3 trillion cubic metres.

With annual consumption of some 86 billion cubic metres "this can be categorised as a very significant source of energy," said the ministries.

"Hydraulic fracturing" or fracking, has unlocked immense gas and oil resources and changed the geopolitics of energy. Since it was developed in 2007 it has been described as the gold rush of the 21st century, creating tens of billions of dollars of revenue and hundreds of thousands of new jobs.

But the technique, which involves injecting a water, sand and chemical mix at high pressure into the ground to create fractures in rocks and rock formations and thus enabling oil or gas to be released, is controversial.

The chemicals used can end up in the water table, creating health and environmental concerns.

Fracking has been banned in France since 2011 but Altmaier promised to introduce legislation in the German parliament on the topic before federal elections on September 22.

AFP/DPA/The Local/jlb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

15:34 February 26, 2013 by owlguard
When will governments support Hydro-electric cars? Hydrogen is a renewable fuel source and be produced in commercial quantities anywhere there is natural gas and water available. The by-product is water vapor. Hydor-electric cars and quiet and have been built and run in the USA for several years but the oil industry has the politicians in their pockets.
16:15 February 26, 2013 by aubiechris
Don't do it Germany! Please don't destroy your beautiful country! Just read some of the horror storries in America where residents are having to deal with severly flamable water from their tap!!
17:06 February 26, 2013 by zeddriver
@owlguard

It's not a one way street it's a two way street. As in. The politicians were first begging for money to fund reelection and promising favors in return for said monies. A politician can only be bought if they are for sale.
17:09 February 26, 2013 by berfel
"The chemicals used can end up in the water table, creating health and environmental concerns. "

Oh? WHat sort of chemicals? Hydraulic fracturing is done with water and sand; with a tiny little bit of "wetting agent" - a fancy term for what is essentially dishwashing detergent. Moreover; spills of dishwashing detergent are only likely at the surface. The top part of the bore is lined with an impermiable barrier that not only protects the groundwater, but also saves a huge amount in drilling costs.

Most importantly; the fraccing is far below any aquifers. The oil and gas are below impermeable layers of clay between any aquifer and the reserves trapped in the rocks; otherwise the oil and gas would have percolated into the water anyway.
18:38 February 26, 2013 by Jeffvm
> aubiechris >severly flamable water from their tap!!

Nonsense. That famous clip from the documentary was not the effect of (very deep) hydraulic fracturing, but of other, shallow drilling activity in the area. Don't believe the propaganda.
02:32 February 27, 2013 by kApRock
Actually, hydraulic fracturing has been around for a number of decades. Various chemicals are used when fracking depending upon the drilling company (different chemicals are used depending upon the reservoir rock to facilitate better porosity and permeability). Drilling is done thousands of feet below the surface, far below the fresh water table. The water in the reservoir rock is actuallysalt water. The only way the well water could be released into local aquifers is if the well casing is breached or there is a large surface spill.
23:08 February 28, 2013 by crm114
kApRock wrote "...The only way the well water could be released into local aquifers is if the well casing is breached..." ah you mean something like the Deepwater Horizon spill, you remember that don't you, the largest cock up in the history of the business, the one that most experts lay at the door of a defective "impermeable barrier" the result of ineptitude and cost cutting on the part of the operators. This drilling done thousands of feet below the surface does it not then pass through the water table or am I missing something?
01:41 March 1, 2013 by kApRock
Ah, crm114. The Deepwater Horizon is a completely different situation than the fracking zones. You resort to sensationalism rather than fact. Comment on fracking rather than hysterics.
Today's headlines
Robber threatens woman with “HIV syringe”
File photo: DPA

Robber threatens woman with “HIV syringe”

36 minutes ago

A shocked woman in Munich called police on Sunday evening after a man climbed into her car, demanded her purse – and threatened her with a syringe he said contained HIV.

Day in court for first Loveparade disaster case
Crosses adorn the stairs which festival-goers fought to reach to escape the crush. Photo: DPA

Day in court for first Loveparade disaster case

1 hour ago

July 2015 marked five years since one of the worst tragedies in modern German history. But this week, those affected by the 2010 Duisburg Loveparade disaster will finally see the case come to court.

Refugee crisis tests EU's core ideals: Merkel
Angela Merkel. Photo: DPA

Refugee crisis tests EU's core ideals: Merkel

1 hour ago

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday said the refugee crisis facing Europe is testing the core ideals of universal rights at the heart of the European Union.

German named 'arse bombing' world champ
Going down with a bang. The splash diving championships 2015. Photo: DPA

German named 'arse bombing' world champ

4 hours ago

Summer went out with a bang - and a splash - in southwest Germany, where the finals of the "arse bombing“ world championship 2015 were held on Sunday.

Formula One
Rosberg 'overwhelmed' by birth of daughter
Formula One Mercedes driver Nico Rosberg with his wife Vivian. File photo: DPA

Rosberg 'overwhelmed' by birth of daughter

5 hours ago

Star Formula One driver Nico Rosberg confirmed on Monday that he and his wife Vivian are now the parents of a baby girl, saying the couple were “overwhelmed and totally in love”.

'No limit to refugees Germany can take in'
Refugees arrive at an intake centre. Photo: DPA

'No limit to refugees Germany can take in'

6 hours ago

Germany's top official dealing with refugees said on Monday that there was 'no upper limit' to Germany's capacity for taking in people in need of asylum.

Berlin orchestra's Tehran concert blocked by Iran
Daniel Barenboim. Photo: DPA

Berlin orchestra's Tehran concert blocked by Iran

7 hours ago

Iran has barred famed conductor Daniel Barenboim from entering the Islamic republic because of his Israeli citizenship, thwarting his plan to lead a performance in Tehran, media reported Sunday.

Bundesliga
Dortmund reclaim top spot with Hertha win
Borussia Dortmund celebrate scoring against Hertha Berlin. Photo:DPA

Dortmund reclaim top spot with Hertha win

8 hours ago

Borussia Dortmund reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga from Bayern Munich on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin -- their eighth straight win under new coach Thomas Tuchel.

Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan
Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Afghanistan on Sunday. Photo:DPA

Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan

8 hours ago

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that German friendship with Afghanistan had "no end date" as he visited Kabul under tight security on Sunday.

Migrants crisis
German media and celebs rally for refugees
A welcome party for refugees in Heidenau on Friday. Photo: DPA

German media and celebs rally for refugees

23 hours ago

Germany may have witnessed violent anti-refugee protests this week -- but the message from the country's media and celebrities is a loud and determined welcome for people fleeing the horrors of war.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,967
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd