The Fiese Milieufederatie, an environmental group, has sounded the alarm over plans for multi-billion company Vermilion exploit Friesland’s natural gas reserves
Translated by Thomas Ansell
As reported by the Omrop Fryslân, the Canadian fossil fuel giant Vermilion has submitted plans to the Dutch government for the exploitation of 11 billion cubic metres of natural gas from under Friesland. The gas fields around Burgum have come to the companies attention as extraction is stopped in Groningen.
Hans van der Werf, of the Fries Milieufederatie (Frisian environmental federation), says that the organisation is ‘shocked’ by the development. The plans include extracting gas in quantities “that we do not yet know”, says Van der Werf. Vermilion plans to bore several extraction points into the Frisian landscape, and has submitted plans to the national Ministry of Economic Affairs. “There is a plan that’s completely inaccessible, so we don’t know any details. And I thought that gas extraction was on the way out in the Netherlands”, says Van der Werf.
The reason that the corporation has turned to Friesland is because, finally, gas extraction is ending in the province of Groningen. Whilst Van der Werf acknowledges that some gas production is needed until the Netherlands transitions to a green energy supply, “but we also have a climate agreement, that says that we are to stop gas extraction and move to sustainable energy”.
Earlier this month, the Dutch parliament voted for a motion to end gas and salt extraction in the Wadden Sea put forward by GroenLinks, D66, and the ChristenUnie. Several environmental and local groups had hoped that this would end the constant exploitation of irreplaceable natural resources that has also led to large numbers of earthquakes in the gas extraction region.
The Gemeentes Tytsjersteradiel and Achtkarspelen have sent a letter to the Ministry of Economic Affairs outlining their opposition to the plans.