NGOs Secure Court Order to Halt Offshore E&P Off Borkum

 Activists at the Borkum project site (Axel Heimken / Greenpeace)
Activists at the Borkum project site (Axel Heimken / Greenpeace)

Published Jun 5, 2024 3:47 PM by The Maritime Executive


The Netherlands' top court has issued an order requiring an offshore operator to pause drilling at a site off the coast of Borkum, following a lawsuit filed by European environmental groups. It is the second time that the court has ordered a halt on the controversial project. 

On Friday, Greenpeace Netherlands and German NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe filed a petition with the District Court of the Hague, asking for an order to halt installation of the Prospector 1 drilling platform at a gas field off Borkum. On Monday, in support of the legal action, 21 Greenpeace activists occupied the platform to protest the offshore operations of energy firm ONE-Dyas. 

The District Court ordered a halt to the project more than one year ago, and requested a more thorough environmental review. After revisions, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate issued a revised permit on May 29, and ONE-Dyas was briefly able to resume work - until the court ordered it to halt again. 

"Fossil fuel companies are planning several new gas projects across Europe. The science is clear: there’s no room for new oil and gas extraction, if the world is to stay well below 1.5 degrees. Every fraction of a degree of warming spells more extreme weather and more sea level rise impacting millions of people," said Greenpeace spokesperson Mira Jager in a statement. 

The court will hold an additional hearing and issue a final ruling on the NGOs' requests next week. 

The offshore project is locally controversial, according to German broadcaster NDR. The well site is close to the maritime boundary with the German state of Lower Saxony, and German officials told NDR that they believe that the well site is "not approvable" in its current form; it is located just outside of their jurisdiction, within Dutch waters.