Schiermonnikoog gas drilling can go ahead after all


Preparations to drill for natural gas in the North Sea off the coast of the island of Schiermonnikoog are set to go ahead, despite last month’s court ruling which called a halt to the plans.

The permit to build a gas drilling platform was torn up by judges in The Hague because of the potential damage to nature. In particular, the court ruled that it is not clear what the impact of nitrogen compound emissions associated with the rig and gas extraction will mean for vulnerable areas.

But the permit has now been amended after drilling firm One-Dyas supplied additional information about its plans and, says the economic affairs ministry, there are no further questions about the environmental protection measures.

The Dutch government first gave the green light to the project in June 2022, despite plans to phase out the use of natural gas because of its impact on the environment.

The case against the project was brought by several environmental organisations from the Netherlands and Germany. They say the drilling may cause irreversible damage to the Borkumse Stenen, an underwater habitat that has been left largely untouched by fishing.

Locals on the island, which has a population of under 1,000 are also opposed to the plan. The development site is some 20 kilometres offshore.

The campaign groups say they will study the new documents carefully when they are released by the ministry on Thursday.

Thank you for donating to

We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.

Make a donation