Home > News > World
Saturday July 5, 2014 MYT 10:30:02 PM
Saturday July 5, 2014 MYT 10:30:57 PM
BERLIN (Reuters) - Europe could eventually get a tenth of its power needs via shale gas fracking, if it can overcome reservations such as those voiced in recommendations from two German cabinet ministers, the European Union's energy commissioner was quoted as saying.
Guenther Oettinger, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives, told the BZ am Sonntag newspaper Germany should keep its options open when EU states such as Britain and Poland appear willing to exploit shale gas.
"I estimate that Europe has the potential to secure about a tenth of our needs this way in the long term," he told the paper, according to an excerpt from its Sunday edition, noting this would help Europe rely less on energy imports at a time of tension with Russia, a major source of gas.
Companies including ExxonMobil Corp and BASF SE's oil and gas arm Wintershall have pushed to explore possibilities for fracking in Germany.
The two German cabinet members responsible for preparing legislation on fracking due this year, Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, circulated proposed guidelines among members of parliament on Friday.
"Unconventional fracking won't be permitted," said Hendricks, who like Gabriel is from the Social Democrats, junior coalition partners of Merkel's conservatives. They are expected to present their thoughts to the cabinet in coming days.
Hendricks was contrasting the new shale gas fracking methods being used in the United States with conventional natural gas exploitation from deep deposits. The ministers propose preventing the fracking of deposits less than 3,000 metres below the surface via tougher laws protecting the quality of water.
Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure through drill holes to prise open rocks containing gas. Many Germans oppose it due to environmental worries, in particular fears about the possible contamination of drinking water.
But German industry, worried that competitiveness is being damaged by rising energy costs at home combined with lower prices in the United States due to the fast expansion of fracking there, has become ever keener to exploit shale gas reserves.
Germany's Federal Institute for Geosciences (BGR) two years ago put the country's shale gas potential between 0.7 trillion and 2.3 trillion cubic metres.
(Reporting by Stephen Brown; Editing by David Holmes)
German upper house passes resolution to tighten fracking rules
Italy's Mogherini says EU must keep diplomatic path open on Ukraine
Germany warns EU not to meddle in its energy policy
NATO chief urges Pakistan to keep Afghan transit lines open
Turkey warns Germany as Berlin obstructs its EU path
Insight - Europe feels sting in the tail of Russia sanctions
Thai junta chief says has not 'damaged' country, rights group disagrees
Protests spread across U.S., more troops deployed in Ferguson
Spain urges Cuba to grant free travel to dissidents
Libyan PM says government responsible for bombing Tripoli airport
Australian minister apologises for submarine firm canoe remark
Fabregas, Ramos bury hatchet in Spain commitment spat
Mystery of Alexander the Great-era tomb holds Greeks in thrall
The trials and tribulations of Sarajevo are being replaced with good tidings
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)