By STEFAN NICOLA and BIRGIT JENNEN
Germany plans to adopt regulation that will rule out shale
fracking for the foreseeable future.
The government wants to ban hydraulic fracturing in shale
rocks and coal beds at depths less than 3 kilometers (1.8
miles) and prohibit all types of fracking in water protection
areas, according to Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Environment
The government will start drafting legislation and seek to
adopt it in the second half, Hendricks told reporters in
Berlin. The rules will be re-evaluated in 2021.
Fracking is unpopular in Germany even as Chancellor Angela
Merkels government is keen to develop domestic energy
sources as it closes nuclear plants by 2022. While companies
including ExxonMobil have drilled test wells into
unconventional gas reservoirs in Germany to emulate the US
shale-gas boom, little headway has been made because of
The new rules, if adopted, would be the strictest that
ever existed in this respect, the ministers said in a
joint letter to the Social Democrats. Fracking for
shale and coal bed gas for economic reasons wont be
possible in Germany for the foreseeable future.
Fracking for tight gas, which has been done in Germany since
the 1960s, will remain allowed under stricter conditions for
frack fluids, the ministers said. Fracking will be allowed
for scientific purposes if the fluids arent harmful to
water supplies, it said.
Not Far Enough
The rules dont go far enough and leave
loopholes to allow fracking at a later stage,
said Julia Verlinden, energy spokeswoman for the opposition
If you want to prevent fracking, you dont need
s, she said.
The risk to harm our ground and drinking water supplies
with fracking doesnt justify the short-term drilling
for comparably little gas.
is divided into different
camps on fracking, which involves drilling hundreds of wells
and cracking rocks with a high-pressure mixture of water,
sand and chemicals to unlock gas or oil from impermeable
stone. Its backed by nations including the UK, Poland
and Spain and opposed in countries such as France and
The oil and gas industry says fracking should be at least
tested to keep the door open to a technology
that may redraw the
energy map across Europe
by reducing reliance on
Russia. Germany has shale gas reserves for about 10 years of
full supply and maybe much more than that, Kurt
Bock, the CEO of the worlds biggest chemical maker
BASF, said at a conference in Berlin.