Zachary Toliver | Shale Plays Media
At a time when a large portion of the world is attempting to cash in on the energy revolution made available through hydraulic fracturing, Germany may soon take a completely opposite route. According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, Germany plans to enact a seven-year ban on shale gas drilling due to fear of groundwater pollution and potential seismic consequences.
Friday morning, Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks stated that these would be the strictest rules that have ever existed in the area of fracking. However, the German based media outlet, Deutsche Welle, points out that at closer examination, the proposed ban reveals a few loopholes, the most prominent being the ban only applies to drilling depths shallower then 3000 meters. According to claims from Hubertus Zdebel of the Left party in Germany, the planned restrictions would still allow for extracting half of Germany’s known gas reserves.
Although Germany is a world leader of renewable energy as stated by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the country still relies heavily on natural gas. In 2010, nearly one fourth of all German energy came from natural gas, and the majority of that gas came from Russia. Aside from a history of shifting relations, Germany is caught up in the political strife between Western nations and Russia as the aggression in Ukraine continues. Russia has already made threats to cut their services to many European countries, and with a fracking ban restricting production, that could be an unfortunate reality for the nation of Germany.
As a nation, Germany could lose out on an economic enhancement by restricting fracking. Along with hundreds of jobs, Germany also loses the obvious revenue of gas in a part of the world heavily dependent on Russian gas in the midst of political agitation.
Read more about the ban and its impact on the economy in the Wall Street Journal article by Jan Hromadko, “Germany Shelves Shale-Gas Drilling For Next Seven Years.” Also, read more about what the leaders of Germany are saying about the ban in the Deutsche Welle article, “Germany debates proposed ban on fracking.”