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Germany should embrace fracking to 'make Putin nervous'

Staff writer |
Germany should not dismiss gas fracking technology that has boosted US industry, nor unilaterally overexpose itself to climate protection efforts, European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger said.

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"I advise you to keep all options open ... that make Putin nervous," said Mr. Oettinger. He was alluding to unresolved differences in European fracking laws which leave shale gas output dormant despite its potential, while gas imports are rising, with Russia remaining the biggest single supplier.

Due to environmental concerns, Berlin has suspended plans to regulate hydraulic fracking until after September's election, prolonging the uncertainty that curbs its development.

Fracking, which involves pumping water and chemicals at high pressure thousands of metres below the ground to release gas, has helped lower energy prices in the United States, fuelling an industrial revival.

Mr. Oettinger said German industry could afford to pay 50% or 100% more for energy than rivals in the United States "but not more than that". He defended exemptions that Germany grants its industry from energy-related costs and called German Green Party ideas for further industry regulation "adventurous" and warned that industrial players could leave Europe to relocate elsewhere.

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