Berlin is looking to cut reliance on Russian energy supplies
In a concerted move to move away from its heavy reliance on Russia amid the Ukraine crisis, German authorities have finally given in and allowed gas drilling to proceed in one of its most controversial territories.
On Wednesday, a German regional authority responsible for the Wadden Sea Islands gave the green light to a Dutch company to drill for gas in the North Sea above the Wadden Islands.
Dutch firm One-Dyas says it plans to begin drilling for natural gas some 20 kilometers north of the islands as soon as possible after the German government was forced to relax its attitude about oil and gas drilling in its territories. The gas field, which contains low-calorific gas suitable for use by households, is located over 20 kilometers above the Wadden Islands in the North Sea under both the Dutch and German seabed.
“We cannot afford to ask the Netherlands for more gas and continue to refuse to extract our own gas,” Minister Bernd Althusmann of Economic Affairs of the state of Lower Saxony announced on Tuesday.
Chris de Ruyter van Steveninck, director at One-Dyas, has told broadcaster NOS that the firm can supply 5% of Dutch gas demand on an annual basis. According to the director, the field and those nearby have a potential to deliver about 60 billion cubic meters of natural gas, meaning they can supply nearly half of the Netherlands 40 billion cubic meters annual consumption and Germany’s 90 billion cubic meters.
Russia’s [military operation] in Ukraine has triggered widespread self-sanctioning by its western energy customers, leading to an energy crisis in the Eurozone and globally. Germany relies on Russia for nearly 60% of its natural gas needs.
Drilling for gas in the North Sea has been met with heavy resistance, with the mayors of the two nearby islands both opposed to the development mainly on concerns about the environmental impact. However, research by the Dutch economic affairs ministry has concluded that there would be minimal damage during both construction of the project and also during the active pumping phase.