Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Natural gas production: Germany is planning a Fracking Law – Business Week

Many states see gas fracking as a real alternative. In Germany lacks about the controversial method previously a statutory provision. The will now come quickly – with strict conditions

The grand coalition plans before the summer break legal regulations for the controversial gas fracking. This is clear from a letter from the Federal Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) to the Chairman of the Budget Committee, Gesine Lötzsch (left) shows, is available to the news agency.

Accordingly, it is to strict requirements for unconventional gas production give: An environmental impact assessment and a ban in water protection areas. “Further requirements on the fracking approval procedures are still being examined internally,” said Gabriel. So far there is no clear statutory provision for the unconventional production from deep rock formations.

It is planned in this context, a change in the regulation on environmental impact assessments of mining projects, and a revised version of the Water Act for which the Federal Ministry of Environment is responsible. 2015 could the changes enter into force, it said. In the coalition agreement between the CDU and the SPD it was because of the numerous resistances that it only should be a fracking permit if this is possible without the use of toxic and environmentally hazardous substances.

Unconventional gas resources

  • shale gas

    shale gas stored in dense Tonsteinschichten, where it has also been formed. In northern Germany they lie at depths of about 1000-25000 meters. Shale gas is not yet supported in Germany. To promote it, it requires the hydraulic fracturing method – so fracking.

  • coalbed

    Coal Seam Gas means gas that originated in the coal layers and contain is. These deposits are located in this country in the depths of about 1000 meters. From international experience, a probability of 50 percent can be derived to be able to dispense with the production of Kohlflözgas on fracking.

  • Tight Gas

    Tight gas is located in a particularly dense sand or limestone layers at depths below 3500 meters. The rock layers are characterized by an extremely reduced permeability. The natural gas is located Unlike slate or Kohlflözgas here in reservoir rocks, and not where the gas originated. Tight gas is produced in Lower Saxony since the 1990s, with about three percent but only a small proportion of the total funding. Tight gas can be promoted only by fracking. Because of the many experiences of professionals, Tight gas is today hardly referred to as “unconventional”.

Whether this is planned, it is not clear from the letter of Gabriel. Upon request, the ministry said but: “The protection of drinking water and health are paramount. Hence the use of environmentally toxic substances in the application of fracking technology is rejected. “

The Green pulled the doubt. “According to the letter of Gabriel fracking should be allowed in the future to 86 percent of the country, so it is a fracking enabling law,” said Group Vice Oliver Krischer. “Obviously Black-Red has learned nothing from the failure of the deselected black-yellow government during fracking.”

In the technology rock is in 1000 to 5000 meters deep using a liquid mixture of water, sand and chemicals disrupted by high hydraulic pressure. Thanks to modern technology, which is drilled down first and then take place in the underground cross-holes, the gas can be pumped from the deep layers. In the U.S., the process

has led to a boom of this unconventional promotion. Too, in Germany there are deposits in Schiefertonformationen, coal beds and tight sandstone formations. Studies assume that the German gas demand with the occurrence could be met over ten years. However, 14 percent of the area are considered as water protection zones, thus the production potential is far lower. In May 2013, a first attempt for an Act had failed, partly because the CDU in Baden-Württemberg feared too many risks for the area around Lake Constance.

In Bavaria and other regions, they also feared for the purity of the brewing water. In the coalition agreement, it literally says: “The impact on people, nature and the environment are not scientifically well enough understood.”

The use of environmentally toxic substances for the exploration and extraction of unconventional natural gas deposits will rejected. Could only be decided upon applications for approval, if the necessary data basis for the assessment of the risks is available. In government circles was stressed this should be implemented.

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