ExxonMobil to Press Ahead on Unconventional Gas in Germany
Exxon Mobil plans to invest heavily in the "Dallas in Münster" to search for sources of natural gas.
US major ExxonMobil will continue its shale search in Germany alongside conventional gas exploration efforts, the company's head of Central European operations, Gernot Kalkoffen has said.
"(Germany) is most definitely an interesting market," Mr. Kalkoffen as said in an interview with Handelsblatt business daily. "We cannot achieve the energy strategy shift without gas."
Nine companies including Exxon, have secured options to search for natural gas in the province of North Rhine-Westphalia, which is suspected to host 2.1 TCF of natural gas.
The company would be targeting both conventional and unconventional gas resources, Kalkoffen told the paper, using a range of technologies including hydraulic fracturing for shale gas.
Exxon has made test drillings both for shale gas and for coal bed methane.
Currently, Mr. Kalkoffen said, ExxonMobil is waiting for the results of research into the effects of hydraulic fracturing on groundwater. Even so, he said, it was not entirely certain that the company would need to frack for shale, with a 50 per cent chance that the method would not be used.
Kalkofen pointed to the significant economic benefits the state would reap interms of royalties, municipal taxes and new employment.
Germany remains hesitant about the use of hydraulic fracturing and the environmental risks posed.
In March of last year, North-Rhine Westphalia imposed a moratorium on shale gas extraction, asking ExxonMobil to suspend its fracking operations in the region, which had begun in 2008, until expert opinion could be collated into the potential environmental impacts of hydraulic fracturing.