Despite Habeck’s word of power: Industry flirts with fracking in Germany

Despite Habeck’s word of power
Industry flirts with fracking in Germany

Whether oil, gas or lithium: Germany is in danger of coming last in the international race for strategically important raw materials. The industry is therefore demanding a radical change in strategy and the lifting of the fracking ban. Economics Minister Habeck remains in line for the time being.

German industry is observing a growing dependence on countries like China for strategically important raw materials and is calling for a change of course. “When it comes to raw materials, Germany can be blackmailed,” said the President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Siegfried Russwurm, in Berlin at a congress of the association.

Russwurm spoke of a “bitter truth.” In order to become more independent, he also advocated natural gas production in Germany using the controversial fracking process. So far, the attitude has been to ship fracking gas across the Atlantic, but to say in Germany that they don’t want anything to do with the technology, Russwurm said. “We shouldn’t shy away from using fracking technology.”

Economics Minister Robert Habeck, on the other hand, confirmed the previous course of the federal government with strict rules. In terms of energy policy, funding through fracking in Germany is not necessary in the medium term, Habeck also made clear. The future lies in hydrogen, which is produced on the basis of renewable energies. Hydrogen beat fracking. Habeck also pointed to resistance from the population when it came to mining other raw materials in Germany.

In the fracking process, which is banned in Germany, gas or oil is extracted from layers of rock using pressure and chemicals, which poses dangers to the environment – for example for drinking water production.

BDI warns of growing dependency

The BDI presented a five-point plan. The race for strategically important raw materials is in full swing, it says. Germany and Europe threatened to lose important sources of raw materials in competition with other countries. As a result, dependencies increased.

Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, which violates international law, has made Germany’s dependence on and vulnerability to Russian energy sources clear – but not only here. “In the case of critical mineral raw materials such as rare earths, the dependency, especially from China, is already much greater.” Without raw materials, however, there will be no energy transition, no e-mobility or digitization.

Specifically, the BDI proposes promoting domestic mining and making it “socially acceptable”. “Every tonne of domestic raw material extraction reduces dependency on imports and strengthens Germany’s resilience and security of supply,” says a paper. Mining must be made possible in terms of spatial planning, planning and approval processes must be accelerated.

It is also said that the step of scientifically accompanied fracking test drilling must be taken. Domestic shale gas production using the most modern fracking processes with the highest standards should make an important contribution to reducing dependency on imports and, as an affordable source of energy, secure the energy supply in Germany.

Union wants to convene crisis summit

In a motion, the CDU/CSU parliamentary group calls for the ban on “commercial unconventional fracking projects” to be evaluated promptly. The German supply of raw materials is at risk and the federal government should convene a national raw materials summit.

The CDU economic politician Julia Klöckner said that a lack of critical raw materials put important production branches of the German economy under heavy pressure and could bring them to a standstill. “Companies should therefore keep a certain strategic reserve in addition to their ongoing business. Therefore, the tax regulations for the valuation of inventories should be improved in order to provide incentives for stockpiling.”

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