The German Federal Government has decided to respond to the controversial method of using fracking activities to extract natural gas by introducing a regulatory package that gives the protection of health and drinking water „absolute priority“. In a recent response (18/2478) to a minor interpellation (18/2227) launched by the German parliamentary group Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, the government announced that it would make a corresponding cabinet decision in November 2014.
It also explained that it wants to legally prohibit fracking in slate and coal seam rock formations that are located an insufficient distance away from usable groundwater because experts are not yet able to estimate the impacts of such activities due to a lack of experience of fracking in Germany. The German Federal Government has additionally announced that it also plans to place strict restrictions on fracking in other rock formations and at large depths, using its response to declare that it will „introduce the strictest rules that have ever existed in this area in Germany“. As a result, fracking activities for the extraction of shale and coal seam gas for economic purposes will not take place in Germany „for the foreseeable future“.
A ban on fracking here in Germany would lead to a number of competitive disadvantages for PVC production activities, as was proven by Hans-Christian Porth from VESTOLIT in his presentation on „PVC in Europe“ at the „PVC and the Environment“ workshop in June. In fact, the field of PVC production in Europe is now already suffering from a cost disadvantage (raw materials + energy) of 150 to 200 US dollars per ton in comparison with the USA, where fracking technology is used intensively.