Exploratieboringen op het Friese Front: hoe het netjes kan
Sula , Volume 7 - Issue 6 p. 19- 27
The Dutch Gas Company (NAM) locales and produces gas on Dutch territory. Even although a large gas reserve is present at the ’Slochteren field, governmental policy favours exploration and exploitation of new smaller fields in order to conserve the known reserves. Gas is also found in the North Sea, and produced through offshore platforms. From seismic surveys, it is expected that gas may also be present in the Frisian Front area. In order to evaluate the special ecological significance of this area, NAM and MOBIL approached the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research with the offer to sponsor the compilation of a comprehensive report on all known characteristics of the Frisian Front area. The NAM used the data in this report to make an ’environmetal plan’ that should minimise the impact of drillings on the environment. The winter was considered to be the best lime of year for drilling, due to a higher degree of mixing of the water and a lower local primary production. Furthermore, concentrations of seabirds vulnerable to surface pollution are mainly present in August/September. Possible blow-outs of gas were considered to have little effect on the environment, as opposed to blow-outs on oilfields. Drilling mud, produced during the ’top-hole’ operation was discarded through a special pipe-construction, close to the seafloor, in order to concentrate, and hence restrict effects on benthic life. Waterbased instead of oil-based mud was used, without toxic additions. Drilling mud from deeper sections was transported to land. In future operations, more attention will be given to the timing of the most intrinsicly dangerous activities, with respect to the environment. This way, the company feels that drilling in precious areas is possible with little or no risk for the environment.
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