British and Dutch authorities intensify efforts to replace Russian gas

Updated: Jul 14

North Sea projects have received approval in London and Amsterdam.

To reduce their reliance on Russian gas imports, Britain and the Netherlands have announced fresh permits for natural gas drilling beneath the North Sea. They want to work with Germany to take advantage of a field off their northern coast.

It happens when Moscow stopped sending goods to the biggest Dutch company because it wouldn't pay in rubles. Environmentalists have criticized the UK plan in the meantime.

On Wednesday, Amsterdam announced that it had authorized a new gas field that is roughly 19 kilometers inland and close to the German border. With authorization from the German state of Lower Saxony still waiting, exploration is anticipated to begin by the end of 2024. The Dutch government claimed that although officials there rejected the licenses in 2021, "they are now making a different decision due to the war in Ukraine."

Following GasTerra's refusal to pay, Gazprom stopped sending supplies to it on Tuesday. According to the official broadcaster NOS, the Netherlands continues to import natural gas from Russia through domestic firms Essent and Eneco, as well as Germany's Uniper and RWE.

Importers from "unfriendly" nations are compelled to create accounts in Russia's Gazprombank, where their preferred currency is changed to rubles, under the new payment system implemented by Moscow in reaction to the EU embargo over the situation in Ukraine. The initiative has received support from the majority of EU nations, although some have objected.

Shell has been given final authority by British regulators to explore the Jackdaw gas field, which was first granted a license in 1970, off the coast of Scotland.

UK Business and Energy Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng stated on Twitter that "we are turbocharging renewables and nuclear, but we are also realistic about our energy needs now." "Let's increase our reliance on gas from British seas to safeguard our energy security."

In response, Greenpeace charged that the UK government was acting in a "desperate and destructive" manner, telling Kwarteng, "You're not turbocharging renewables, you're turbocharging the climate problem."

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