Wednesday, August 6, 2014

F as Fracking: Between gas boom and dangers – Handelsblatt

It is in everyone’s lips and hotly debated: Fracking is a method to produce gas and oil from the deep. To a mixture of water, sand and chemical additives under high pressure is pumped into the soil. In this case, cracks are formed in the rock, the gas is released and can be pumped up.

Fracking Opponents warn against unforeseeable consequences for the environment: the use of toxic chemicals groundwater and thus the drinking water could be contaminated. The long-term consequences are not clear. The criticism is also the massive water consumption during fracking. Between eight and 19 million liters of water are required for the exploitation of a gas source. With 50,000 sources that are tapped each year in the United States, demand for water adds up to 530 billion liters

Fracking:. Blessing or environmental crime ?

  • Bitter dispute

    New technologies are often controversial. But when the fracking controversy goes far beyond the normal level. Is the conveyor system for natural gas of the environment’s number one enemy since the nuclear power? Or just a misunderstood but promising technology?

  • The technique

    When Fracking is miles deep drilled in the earth – and then again horizontally, sometimes six kilometers wide. In the channels a chemical cocktail is pressed, the tears the ground. Sand in the liquid ensures that the cracks do not close again. Through them, contact the natural gas – or other commodities – from which may be supported as usual

  • The scenery <. / h5>

    The Canadian Dawson Creek only a derrick, 50 meters was high. Then the actual fracking came: six huge trucks are close together and pump the brine into the wells, 100,000 cubic meters per wellfield. One does not hear yourself speak, but the workers look almost bored on the measuring instruments. Your layers are hard, the wages are 70,000 to 140,000 euros a year. They’re gone, is also the noise away. Then to the gas 20, quietly exceed 30 years from the Earth in the pipelines.

  • Opponents

    Don Vander Velde is 68 years old. He has lived in the country in Alberta, Canada his whole life, which is part of his family since 1904. For a decade, is gefrackt nearby. “Sometimes, the ground shakes,” says the farmer. “And what chemicals are in there?” Don is worried because he has children, grandchildren and a great-granddaughter. Little Aspen is ten months. “I am old, but I do not want to squander their future.” He had nothing against the promotion. “I want energy. Alberta needs the gas as it needs us farmers. So fosters! But make it sure! “

  • Company

    Encana Fracking is a giant and Kellen Foreman is for eleven years. “We want transparency,” asserts the 29-year-old. That’s why tens of thousands of water samples were analyzed for millions of dollars. “And not a single contamination of drinking water is somewhere in Canada has been proven.” And the shocks? Measurable only with fine instruments. He could totally understand people’s concerns. “But there’s a lot of science behind fracking. We are not cowboys who go out there and dig up the earth. This is high technology. “

  • The politician

    Hannelore Kraft is 8000 km traveled far to make for yourself. With a red jumpsuit and white helmet Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia is in the mud of Dawson Creek in the wilderness of Canada, speaks with workers, examined the drill heads and touches the chemical liquor that is pressed. “I can imagine that in the Münsterland not really,” she says. Force is impressed, it shows in her. Also from the openness of the workers and the drilling company – in the eyes of many but the “bad guys”. But the technique can be used also in Germany, a country that has more than twice as many inhabitants as America on a thirtieth of the area? “It is not yet ready to decide. But I can hardly imagine that in the densely populated Rhine-Westphalia. “

  • The scientist

    Uwe Schneidewind is one of the few fracking experts in Germany. The professor and President of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy sees four points for the assessment of Fracking: (“do not touch Unconventional carbon deposits as possible”) climate policy, economic (“workplace effect is present but limited”; “gas price drops, but in Europe unsustainable “), geo-strategic (” dependence on others decreases, but “) and ecological (” itself remains in the solution of many problems in Europe are not really attractive “).

  • The Movies

    “Gasland” was a worldwide success. The documentary by Josh Fox from the year 2010 was not only nominated for an Oscar, but he has put the issue Fracking also for the general public only on the agenda. In the key scene of a faucet is turned on and lit the water – it burns. Sharp criticism came from the industry, but also by a colleague: In “Frack nation” accused filmmaker Phelim McAleer his colleagues Fox to have been knowingly inaccurate. So there have been reports of inflamed tap water long before fracking. There are now “Gasland II”. When the documentary was shown in April at New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, fans were of “Frack Nation”, despite cards not be admitted.

The proponents of Frackings argue that there has already been considerable progress in the use of chemicals. Thus, the energy companies need to do their holes today only a fifth of the initial 150 chemical admixtures. Alternative methods are already being tested: Here, for example, replacing propane in gel form, the chemicals normally used such as potassium chloride and isopropanol. The chemical admixtures are needed to protect the drilling rigs from corrosion and bacteria and keep it supple.

Conventional and unconventional Fracking

The term fracking basically means the breaking up of the reservoir rock at depth. But is different from the exact sequence of the Frackens: How much liquid is provided by what additives and under what pressure pumped into the ground? Conventional Fracking for gas extraction is applied in Germany since the sixties Here the rock is broken into up to five kilometers deep. In this very deep rock layers there is no risk to groundwater, emphasize companies. The chemicals used were adequately researched and safe.

In the current debate is mostly about the so-called unconventional fracking, as it is applied in the United States. Here untapped gas reserves are funded in lying close to the surface layers of clay and shale so far. To promote the gas from the microscopic spaces, in each case several bores and a large amount of water are necessary. Huge amounts of geleitetem back to the surface waste water must be disposed of safely. The company must not specify what chemicals they use first. Behind the consequences for the ecosystem are many question marks

Power: Politics fitted opportunities

to promote

gas from shale rock, would also be possible in Germany. Shale gas reserves there are mainly in the north and isolated in the south of Germany. Estimates vary on the volume. The Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (BGR) assumes that the technically-recoverable shale gas amount equivalent to the two to seven times the current German natural gas reserves. With its exploitation, the dependence on energy imports and gas prices could be reduced but the proponents of the technology say. Above all supported firms emphasize the advantages of Frackings and try to allay concerns by scientific advice.

The Energy sees fracking ban as a competitive disadvantage: Germany verbaue the chance of energy imports to become more independent, complained about the trade association of petroleum and natural gas. By fracking boom, the United States have opened up enormous gas reserves. The natural gas costs there is currently only a third of what Europe has to pay for its gas imports. Leading business organizations warn of exodus German companies in the United States.

No shale gas drilling in Germany

The Federal Government is currently working on a legal regulation for fracking. Unconventional Fracking, ie the extraction of shale gas should be allowed only for test purposes and only beyond 3000 meters below the surface. Allowed to remain on the other hand, the conventional fracking, so drilling in deeper layers of rock. The criticize the brewers and mineral water Manufacturer: The risks are too high, loopholes too high. . Fracking should be banned in deep rock layers

In general, follow the relevant ministries the more critical voices from science: Both the Environmental Council of the Federal Government and the Institute for the World Economy in Kiel come to the conclusion that fracking in Germany will immediately provide nor falling energy prices either for more independence in the energy supply. The Environment spoke out clearly against the method: There was more of a commercial interest of the industry as a public interest in the development of shale gas reserves. Also existed serious gaps in knowledge about the impact on the environment. The Federal Environment Agency called in a report in late July 2014, a far-reaching ban: “Fracking is and remains a risk technology – and therefore needs strong guidelines for the protection of environment and health,” said President Maria Krautzberger: “As long as that is not predictable yet certain significant risks of this technology can dominate and thus, there should be no fracking in Germany to promote shale and coalbed methane. “


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