Germany and fracking

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Fracking of shale rock may begin in Germany in 2019. In February 2015 the country proposed a draft law that would allow fracking of up to 3,000 meters.[1]


In February 2013, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government agreed on draft regulation to allow for fracking in the country. The legislation would outlaw fracking in water protection areas and near drinking water wells and would make environmental impact studies mandatory for new projects. The measures would permit the technique in non-restricted areas under a unified legal framework.[2]

In July 2014 German economy minister Sigmar Gabriel and environment minister Barbara Hendricks proposed introducing measures to restrict fracking for shale gas and coal-bed methane at depths greater than 3,000 metres (9,800 feet) below the earth's surface. Fracking would also be prohibited in areas where drinking water is thought to be at risk of contamination. Announcing the plan, Hendricks said: "There will be no fracking for economic purposes in Germany in the near future," but fracking for exploratory purposes would continue.[3]

In November 2014 German authorities drafted legislation that would allow exploratory commercial drilling starting in 2019 at depths of less than 3,000 meters with “strict” environmental limits after case-by-case decisions.[4]

In February 2015, the Bavarian Brewers Association won the backing of won Chancellor Angela Merkel's government to protect their spring waters from fracking. The brewers banded together to protect the resources they use to brew their beer. The government is identifying locations where spring waters are vital for beer, and will ensure fracking does not occur in such areas.[5]


According to Volker Steinbach, the head of the natural resources department of the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources, Germany has up to 2.3 trillion cubic meters (81 trillion cubic feet) of shale gas. Companies including Exxon Mobil have drilled test wells into unconventional natural gas reservoirs in Germany.[2]


Fracking has been used at least 275 times on conventional reserves in Lower Saxony state since the 1960s, according to a study presented by the Environment Ministry.[2]



  1. "Germany moves to legalise fracking" The Guardian, February 14, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Stefan Nicola & Tino Andresen, "Germany Agrees on Regulation to Allow Fracking for Shale Gas," Bloomberg, Feb 26, 2013.
  3. "Germany proposes partial fracking ban," PE Unconventional, July 10, 2014.
  4. Stefan Nicola and Birgit Jennen, " Germany Opens Door to Commercial Fracking in Merkel Bill," Bloomberg, Nov 20, 2014
  5. "German Beer Brewers Win Fracking Protection for Spring" Stefan Nicola, Bloomberg Business, February 26, 2015.

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