Germany must be open to shale gas opportunity: VCI chief

09 October 2013 17:55  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany must be open to technologies that allow the exploration of its shale gas reserves, the president of the chemical industry trade group VCI said on Wednesday.

VCI president Karl-Ludwig Kley said that he is opposed to a "prohibition on thinking" about the opportunity that shale gas and its production technologies offer. Hydraulic fracturing (fracking), the technology used in shale gas production, is facing strong opposition in Germany and elsewhere.

“In a couple of decades Germans may be grateful that they have gas reserves available,” Kley added.

Kley, who is also CEO of German specialty chemicals and pharmaceuticals firm Merck KGaA, made the remarks in a media briefing in Berlin, where he presented a study warning of the costs of Germany’s energy reforms - known as “Energiewende” -, which rely heavily on subsidies to build out renewables capacity.

The study - carried out by a US consultancy and financed by a number of companies and trade groups including VCI - found that Germany could face a “massive loss in economic power” and job losses through 2030 from the Energiewende.

However, the study, The Challenge to Germany’s Global Competitiveness in a New Energy World, also found that the country could pursue a lower-cost “competitive energy scenario” that would slow down the building out of renewable energies and that would continue to exempt chemical producers and other energy-intensive industrial firms from the charges and taxes levied to subsidise renewables.

Kley appealed to Germany’s incoming government to work to maintain the country's industrial competitiveness and to reduce the soaring costs of the renewables expansion.

Germany’s political party leaders are currently negotiating a new coalition government following last month’s federal election. While Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats won the election, they do not have an absolute majority of seats in parliament.


By: Stefan Baumgarten
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