UK and Dutch governments approve new separate North Sea gas projects

European governments have been criticised by environmentalists for trying to tap into new gas reserves.
European governments have been criticised by environmentalists for trying to tap into new gas reserves. Copyright ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP, FILE
By Euronews with AP, AFP
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European nations are scrambling to tap new sources of natural gas to relieve them of supplies from Russia.

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Regulators in the United Kingdom have given final approval to develop a new North Sea gas field as supplies dwindle from Russia.

Britain’s business and energy secretary, Kwasi Kwarteng, said on Wednesday that UK regulators have approved the Jackdaw gas field being developed by Shell.

“We’re turbocharging renewables and nuclear, but we are also realistic about our energy needs now,” Kwarteng wrote on Twitter. “Let’s source more of the gas we need from British waters to protect energy security.”

The Dutch government has also announced it has issued permits for a joint gas exploration project with Germany.

The moves came just one day after Russia's Gazprom declared it would suspend supplies to GasTerra over the Dutch supplier's refusal to pay for deliveries in roubles.

The new joint project will drill for gas around 19 kilometres off the coast of the two countries, near the Dutch island of Schiermonnikoog and the German island of Borkum.

Last year, authorities in the German state of Lower Saxony had opted not to issue permits for the project. If now approved by German authorities, the first gas could be produced by the end of 2024.

Environmentalists have criticised European governments for deciding to invest in fossil fuels rather than renewable energy.

Greenpeace has responded by accusing the UK government of “desperate and destructive” action that will instead "turbocharge the climate crisis".

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the war in Ukraine risked diverting attention away from the need to combat global warming. He has repeatedly called for countries to stop drilling for new gas, oil and coal projects, warning that they are environmentally harmful and economically unviable.

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