acatech: scientific evidence does not justify general ban of hydraulic fracturing


Legislation, Generic, Water Protection

acatech - the German National Academy of Science and Engineering has published a position paper (in German) about applications, economic perspectives and environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing. The academy┬┤s project group, led by Rolf Emmermann, a former Scientific Executive Director of the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ, states that a general ban of hydraulic fracturing is not justified by scientific and technical facts. (link to press release)

However, exploitation of natural gas or geothermal energy with hydraulic fracturing should follow strict safety standards. Thus, the academy presents a catalogue of Best-Practice provisions to ensure maximum safety. 

Provisons of Best-Practice include a thorough reconnaissance of any potential well location followed by a site-specific risk evaluation to exclude drilling at unsuitable locations. Continuous monitoring of ground water quality, possible gas escape, seismic activity and wellbore integrity should provide early recognition of any possible hazard. Additionally, no toxic or environmentally hazardous substances should be used in fracturing fluids. 

The academy calls for full disclosure of all additives before they can be used in Germany. acatech recommends that flowback fluids should be treated and re-used on-site, thus minimising water consumption and preventing potential leakage during transport of these fluids. Well integrity of each wellbore must be ensured during the whole lifetime of a project by a Well-Integrity-Management-System. 

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acatech: scientific evidence does not justify general ban of hydraulic fracturing