Britain and the Netherlands approve new gas projects in the North Sea

BERLIN (AP) – British regulators on Wednesday gave final approval to the development of a new gas field in the North Sea, while Dutch …

BERLIN (AP) – British regulators on Wednesday gave final approval to the development of a new gas field in the North Sea, while the Dutch government announced it had issued permits for a joint gas exploration project with Germany.

European countries are trying to use new sources of natural gas to help them wean themselves off supplies from Russia, but environmentalists have criticized the decision to invest in fossil fuels rather than renewable energy sources, which will do less harm to the planet.

The Minister for Affairs and Energy of the United Kingdom Kwasi Quarteng said that UK regulators have approved the Jackdaw gas field, which is being developed by Shell.

“We are filling renewable and nuclear turbocharged energy sources, but we are also realistically assessing our energy needs,” Quarteng wrote on Twitter. “Let’s get more of the gas we need from British waters to protect energy security.”

The Greenpeace environmental group has accused the government of “desperate and destructive” actions.

“You are not turbocharging renewable energy, you are turbocharging the climate crisis,” it said.

Separately, the Netherlands has issued permits for a new gas field off the North Sea coast on the border with Germany. The Dutch government has said that permission from the German authorities to drill gas in the region is still pending.

“A year ago, the German state of Lower Saxony decided not to issue permits,” said the Dutch government. “Now they are making a different decision because of the war in Ukraine.”

The German authorities could not be reached for comment. If the joint project is approved, the first gas can be extracted by the end of 2024, the Dutch government said.

Russia’s state energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday it was cutting off gas flows to Dutch trader GasTerra and several other European customers. Moscow is looking for ways to avenge the sanctions imposed by European countries for the attack on Ukraine.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Wednesday that the war in Ukraine risks diverting attention from the need to combat climate change.

Guterres has repeatedly called on countries to stop drilling for new gas, oil and coal projects, warning that they are harmful to the environment and economically unprofitable.

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