Dutch, Germany to jointly drill for gas in North Sea after Russia cut gas supplies

AFP , Wednesday 1 Jun 2022

The Netherlands and Germany are to jointly drill for a new gas field in the North Sea, the Dutch government said on Wednesday, a day after Russia cut gas supplies to the country.

Hans Vijlbrief
Hans Vijlbrief


Deputy minister of mining Hans Vijlbrief "issued permits for the Dutch part today", it said in a statement, adding that "an accelerated procedure for the required permits is underway" in Germany.

"The cabinet supports gas extraction in the North Sea in order, for example, to have sufficient gas to heat our houses," the economics and climate ministry said.

The controversial plan to drill for gas some 10 nautical miles (19 kilometres, 11 miles) offshore on the Dutch-German border is not new, but has taken on a new urgency since Russia's Gazprom announced Tuesday it was halting all gas supplies to the Netherlands.

This came after Dutch energy firm GasTerra refused to pay in rubles following the Russian military offensive in Ukraine.

The German state of Lower Saxony a year ago decided not to issue permits for the drilling near the eco-sensitive islands of Schiermonnikoog and Borkum and Dutch environmental groups still have concerns.

However, Lower Saxony "is now making a different decision because of the war in Ukraine", the Dutch ministry said.

The first gas from the platform -- to be powered by a nearby German wind farm -- is expected to be extracted by 2024, it added.

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