Friday, February 5, 2016

German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources Opines that Shale Gas Extraction Will Not Damage Water Supplies

On January 18, 2016, the German Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources released a study entitled “Shale Gas in Germany: Environmental Aspects” as translated from German. According to a media report, “the study has found that it is possible to tap these unconventional reserves without damaging drinking water reservoirs.” This report is being presented at a time when a bill allowing commercial shale gas production is currently pending on the German Parliament’s agenda.

In July 2014, both of the German Federal Economics and Environment Ministries introduced a combined framework document stating that below 3,000 meters, commercial shale gas production was prohibited to avoid groundwater pollution. Nonetheless, above 3,000 meters, hydraulic fracturing was allowed merely for scientific and exploration purposes. In November 2014, they presented a revised version of the framework providing that if test measures were successful, commercial shale gas production could be allowed provided that all environmental impacts were able to be handled properly. Thus, this study could be a game-changer as to whether shale gas resources are developed beneath German soil.

The study is written in German and is available here.

Written by Chloe Marie - Research Fellow

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