Islanders oppose the planned North Sea drilling

Updated: Jul 14

Environmental concerns have been raised by the combined offshore gas project between Germany and the Netherlands.

The Dutch government announced on Wednesday that a new gas resource in the North Sea will begin to be developed in conjunction with Germany. Near the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog and the German island of Borkum, around 19 kilometers (12 miles) off the coasts of the two nations, the joint project will drill for gas.

The report claims that while the goal to wean the EU from Russian energy is not new, the urgency of drilling on the Dutch-German border has increased recently.

The statement noted that "an accelerated procedure for the required approvals is underway" in Germany and stated that Dutch State Secretary for the Extractive Industries Hans Vijlbrief "granted permits for the Dutch component today."

Due to environmental concerns near the islands of Schiermonnikoog and Borkum, officials in the German state of Lower Saxony last year decided not to provide permits for the project. However, the Dutch ministry stated that due to the conflict in Ukraine, German and Dutch officials are "now making a different judgment."

The initiative, however, is not supported by the mayors of either island, them. Previous studies commissioned by the Dutch government suggested that both during well drilling and gas production, the impact would be limited.

The EU countries' action comes just one day after Russian company Gazprom announced it would stop supplying GasTerra because the Dutch provider wouldn't pay for deliveries in rubles.

The first gas from the collaborative drilling might be produced by the end of 2024, should German officials give their approval.

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