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Bloomberg: Shell, Exxon Venture Set to Produce Dutch Wetland Gas (Update1)

By Fred Pals

Nov. 21 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. will start to pump natural gas in January from a Dutch wetland that contains as much as 170 billion cubic meters of the fuel, said the head of their production venture.

Shell and Exxon’s joint company has licenses to explore and produce for the next three decades in different blocks in the Wadden Sea to supplement production from their aging Dutch Groningen field. Only 60 wells have been drilled in the area over the past 60 years.

The venture, Nederlandse Aardolie Maaschappij BV, or NAM, has received all the permits to extract gas in the Wadden Sea area off the Dutch coast after the government accelerated the approval process for 32 licenses. It currently produces gas from three small fields in the area because of permits it got in the 1980s, said NAM Chief Executive Officer Roelf Venhuizen at an energy conference in Groningen, Netherlands, today.

The specific area in which NAM will work is estimated to have about 20 billion cubic meters of gas, Venhuizen said.

NAM says scientific reports show it can extract gas without causing environmental damage to the 3,800 square-mile area, which is home to seals and a transit stop for 10 million migratory birds. Environmentalists have opposed the project and continue to protest it.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Pals in Amsterdam at [email protected]

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