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Bloomberg: Shell, Exxon Mobil Begin Pumping Gas From Dutch Wetland Fields

By Fred Pals

Feb. 9 (Bloomberg) — Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp. started pumping natural gas from a Dutch wetland that contains as much as 20 billion cubic meters of the fuel.

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

The venture, Nederlandse Aardolie Maaschappij BV, or NAM, received permits to extract gas in the Wadden Sea area off the Dutch coast after the government accelerated the approval process for 32 licenses. NAM currently produces gas from three small fields in the area under permits it received in the 1980s.

“We’ve started this week to pump gas from six fields at three different locations,” NAM spokesman Reinier Treur said in a phone interview from Assen, Netherlands, where NAM has its headquarters. “Total production could reach 20 billion cubic meters by about 2030,” he said.

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

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

Last Updated: February 9, 2007 04:54 EST

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