Fracking in Germany?


Leading geologists are trying to refute the arguments of fracking opponents in Germany. Fracking in Germany is far more environmentally friendly than all methods of importing natural gas (DGGV: 09.11.22

Experts call on the Federal Government to lift the fracking ban

The chairman of the German Geological Society calls on the Federal Government to lift the fracking ban in Germany. Germany should use its own gas reserves due to the high prices and a poorer climate balance of imported liquefied gas. “We really need to talk seriously about this topic now,” said Martin Meschede, Professor of Regional and Structural Geology at the University of Greifswald (Tagesspiegel: 09.11.22).

Domestic natural gas would have a much smaller carbon footprint. Politicians argue about fracking with a lot of ignorance and false arguments Image
:Robin Wood,CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

According to Meschede, the extraction of natural gas by modern fracking processes is far more climate-friendly than other import methods. The potential is great, for example, in Lower Saxony, but there the red-green state government does not want to allow any discussion about a new attempt at fracking.

Domestic natural gas would have a much smaller carbon footprint

The fracking gas, which is largely imported from the USA, has a much higher carbon footprint than domestic natural gas. Up to 20 percent of the transported energy is required for liquefaction alone. Added to this is the high CO₂ emissions during transport with LNG carriers across the Atlantic. According to Meschede, however, this topic would not even be discussed in politics.

In an expert opinion, the geoscientists of the German Geological Society – Geological Association (DGGV) therefore call for the environmentally friendly extraction of domestic natural gas by fracking to be expanded immediately and calls on the Federal Government to lift the fracking ban. The production of domestic natural gas would already be possible in six months after the first well.

Politicians argue with a lot of ignorance and false arguments

In the traffic light coalition, however, the Greens and SPD reject fracking in Germany. “There is a lot of ignorance and really flawed arguments,” Meschede criticized the German politicians. Fracking processes have evolved in recent years and can now be operated in an environmentally friendly manner. In addition, LNG procurement from abroad is expensive and one is dependent on ever higher freight rates for the few available LNG carriers.

Process has become increasingly environmentally friendly in recent years

In fracking, a water mixture is pressed into the ground to break up the rock at depths of up to 4000 meters. Meschede emphasizes that the additive used is not chemically questionable at all and certainly not toxic. The water would only be transformed into a kind of gel to prevent it from evaporating immediately. Compared to drinking water, with a purity level of zero, the mixture pressed into the boreholes still has a purity level of one. “It’s far from toxic,” says Meschede. The water flowing back to the surface is collected and disposed of properly.

Fracking has been banned in Germany since 2017. However, from the 1960s until this ban in Germany, natural gas was extracted by fracking. There was never an incident regarding negative impacts on the environment.