Amid Russia’s war on Ukraine and a European energy crisis, German Finance Minister Christian Lindner is calling for a lifting of the ban on fracking, citing the high prices the country is paying for liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Fracking was banned in Germany in 2017.
Speaking to Germany’s Bild am Sonntag, Lindner said Germany should lift the fracking ban and “then private investors can decide whether extraction is economical.”
“Compared to gas from other regions of the world, I expect competitive advantages.” Lindner said.
In his call to allow fracking, Lindner is breaking ranks with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats and Minister of Economy Robert Habeck of the Greens–both of whom are coalition partners.
Germany has rejected fracking not only over environmental concerns.
Last month, Scholz noted that fracking would be a costly and wasteful undertaking that would take too long to begin production. By the time production could be feasible, Scholz noted, demand for natural gas will have declined.
The German Chancellor noted there was zero support for exploiting natural gas reserves through fracking in the country.
“If you get close to it, it vanishes into thin air,” German media quoted him as saying in December.
It is widely understood that Germany, due to its dense population, is not suitable for fracking, while the technological complexities would render it irrelevant to the current energy crisis.
Instead, Germany has been building out LNG infrastructure at breakneck speed to increase its capacity to take in fracked American natural gas.
By the end of 2022, Germany had succeeded in cutting its reliance on Russian gas to 20% from 55% the previous year, based on Bloomberg data. The country’s first new floating LNG import terminal opened in mid-December on its North Sea coast, with other terminals planned.
By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com
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