WINTERSHALL: GERMANY GAS FELL
Wintershall Holding GMBH says natural gas production in Germany fell by about 6% in the past year, and controversy over shale gas and hydraulic fracturing is blocking conventional gas production.
For more than 3 years, the ongoing discussion on shale gas has prevented projects from being approved that require the use of hydraulic fracturing even for conventional gas production, the company said.
"More than a third of the conventional natural gas produced in Germany has been safely recovered in an environmentally friendly manner with the use of hydraulic fracturing," said Andreas Scheck, head of Wintershall's activities in Germany. Scheck spoke at the Handelsblatt Annual Energy Industry Conference in Berlin.
Scheck said strengthening of Germany's supply security depends not just on the possible production of shale gas reserves in the future but above all on established, conventional production.
Today only 11% of Germany's natural gas requirement is met by domestic sources; 15 years ago it was 22%.
"The project backlog is not only threatening domestic supply security but is also meanwhile putting jobs at risk, especially in Lower Saxony," Scheck said. About 95% of Germany's natural gas is produced in Lower Saxony.
"We need a reliable legal framework, time frames and planning security for the future use of fracking technology in Germany, of course taking into account Germany's highest safety and environmental standards," he said.
Scheck said hydraulic fracturing has for decades been safely and successfully deployed in Germany with so-called tight gas.
"It's already safe to use today," he said. "Over 300 fracs in Germany alone have proved this during the last 50 years."
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