German Government Opposes Shale Gas Production, Der Spiegel Says
German Economy Minister Philipp Roesler and Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen agreed to currently oppose shale gas production in the country, Der Spiegel reported, citing unidentified government officials.
There are several issues that need to be examined with the technique of hydraulic fracturing, Roesler told people close to him, the Hamburg-based news magazine said in an e-mailed summary of an article.
The technique known as fracking involves forcing chemically treated water and sand underground to break rock and let trapped gas flow.
Czechs eye moratorium on shale gas exploration
The Czech Environment Ministry is planning to put up to a two-year moratorium on granting licenses for shale gas exploration until new legislation is put in place, the ministry said.
During the moratorium, the ministry would look at preparing geological and mining legislation that is clear for potential exploration companies.
“Existing Czech legislation is not prepared for such technically complicated research like there is in the case of shale gas,” the ministry said on its website.
The ministry cancelled a provisional shale gas exploration license for Australian-based BasGas in April, saying a government commission made legal and procedural errors during the application process.
The company’s owner, Hutton Energy, told Reuters it may consider pulling out of the Czech Republic due to an uncertain regulatory landscape.
Russia faces challenge to gas supremacy
Natural gas is one of the key economic engines of Russia. Gazprom, the state-controlled gas producer, is the world’s largest exporter of the commodity, accounting for about 15 per cent of global supplies.
Could the boom in shale gas challenge the leadership of Russia in gas?
Until now, Moscow and Gazprom have seemingly been nonchalant about the threat. But as the impact of the boom in US natural gas production becomes clear, depressing prices to levels not seen in 10 years and increasing the prospect of the country becoming an exporter, the Kremlin is beginning to pay attention.
The change in attitude is led by Vladimir Putin, Russia’s president-elect. He told the Duma last week that the boom in shale gas can “seriously” reshape the global energy market. “National energy companies, obviously, must respond to these challenges,” he said, in a clear reference to Gazprom.
Earlier this month, US natural gas prices fell below the $2 per million British thermal units for the first time in a decade, down almost 90 per cent below the all-time high of $15.78 per mBtu set in 2005. European gas prices are closer to $10 per mBtu as the US market remains isolated.
In his final address to the Parliament, Mr Putin said Russia must be prepared for “any external shocks” and “a new wave of technological change” that was “changing the configuration of global markets”.
The biggest risk for Russia is not the US shale gas but the potential of the development of similar reserves in neighbouring Bulgaria, Romania, Poland and Ukraine.