Wednesday 20 January 2021

French firm drops Wadden gas drilling plan, despite court approval

The French gas company which was hoping to set up two test drill sites close to the Wadden Sea island of Schiermonnikoog has pulled out of the scheme, citing problems with new legislation.

Engie E&P had applied for two licences for test drills which were approved by the Council of State earlier on Wednesday.

However, new rules which will require a lot more investment, now make the project an unattractive proposition, the company said.

That, together with changes in public support for the project have led to the decision to pull out, a spokesman told website Nu.nl. The decision is not connected to the court case, the spokesman said.

The test licences were issued to Engie itself and the licences will now be cancelled. Other companies wishing to test drill in the region will have to start the application process from scratch.

However, changes in the rules for oil and gas exploration make it extremely unlikely that new licences will be granted, broadcaster NOS said.

The test drilling was extremely controversial and opposed by locals and environmental groups.

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