U.S. oil giant ExxonMobil is currently researching a special blend of hydraulic fracturing chemical that are friendly to the environment in order to convince cynical Europeans to move with speed to allow fracking.
ExxonMobil, the world’s largest oil firm by market value, revealed that it has developed non-toxic fluids that suit the geological formations of Germany. However, the fluids have not been tested in the field, reported the Financial Times.
Research shows that fracking fluids used in the United States, which are mixed with water and fine sand, and then pumped into the shale rocks at high pressure to release oil and gas can potentially harm both humans and wildlife. A study by the University of Missouri found out that fracking fluids can affect hormones that control key body functions such as reproduction.
Germany’s geosciences institute estimates that the country has up to 2.3 trillion cubic metres of recoverable natural gas reserves. However, the reserves are smaller than those of France and Poland, which have the largest shale reserves in Europe, based on estimates by US Energy Information Administration.
Germany has already granted exploration permits to various companies such as Exxon to explore the resources, which can potentially satisfy its domestic energy requirements. Recently, as with other EU members, Germany is seeking to reduce its dependence on Russian energy imports, which supply roughly a third of its total energy requirements.
However, the government has issued a moratorium on fracking, arguing that it will only allow fracking to proceed if it is “clarified beyond doubt” that the chemicals are environmentally safe, and won’t affect water quality.
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