Germany to leave door ajar for fracking

2014-11-20 22:28

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Berlin - Germany's government plans to stop short of an outright ban on the controversial technique of fracking for gas, bowing to pressure from industry, according to the latest draft of a law from the environment ministry seen by Reuters.

Fracking or hydraulic fracturing to extract gas and oil has transformed the US energy market, boosting domestic supplies. The process is banned in France on environmental grounds. It is allowed in Britain but has strict environmental and safety guidelines.

German industry is concerned that its competitiveness is being hurt by rising energy costs at home compared to lower prices in the United States which has seen a fracking boom.

A deterioration in ties with Russia over the Ukraine crisis has also raised pressure on Europe, especially Germany, to cut its reliance on Russian gas and fuelled the fracking debate.

New facking rules

Germany is drawing up new fracking rules, and has promised strict environmental audits and a ban on drilling in areas where water is protected due to possible environmental damage.

Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks said the new law would set the bar very high for fracking for gas.

"With this we are setting out the strictest rules for fracking that there have ever been," Hendricks said.

But the draft makes clear that in exceptional cases commercial fracking could be allowed after successful test drilling and the approval of a special committee.

New permits

This marks a slight shift from draft guidelines outlined in the summer, where fracking would have been completely banned until 2021 apart from test drilling for scientific purposes.

About 10% of Germany's gas comes from domestic sources and fracking has been used in the country for deep-lying or "tight" gas but there has been a de facto moratorium on new permits in the last few years due to environmental issues.

In their coalition deal agreed a year ago, Germany's ruling parties promised to set a legal framework for fracking, saying it had significant potential for risk and rejecting the use of chemicals.

The technique involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure through drill holes to prise open rocks containing gas.

Read more on:    germany  |  fracking  |  environment

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Man scores date with tennis superstar after Twitter bet

It’s a modern day Cinderella story, but one American man took ‘shoot your shot’ seriously in 2017.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.