Vijlbrief ‘penetrating’ to talk to NAM about wastewater injection Twente

State Secretary Vijlbrief (Mining) will have โ€œprobing talksโ€ with the management of the Dutch Petroleum Society (NAM) about the planned resumption of the storage of toxic waste water in the soil in Twente. Thats what he promised to the House of Representatives.

Vijlbrief was called to Parliament by MP Omtzigt. The Chamber has long wanted the water injections to stop, because of the dangers to the environment and the environment. There is also a lot of resistance in Twente itself, supported by comedian Herman Finkers.

The NAM has a permit to inject the water, which is released during oil extraction in Schoonebeek in Drenthe, into empty gas fields in Twente. The injections have been silent since December, after irregularities were detected, such as a far too high concentration of toluene in the water.

Tightened supervision

This is now under investigation and NAM thinks it will be able to start extracting oil and water injections again in June. Vijlbrief agrees with the House that this is only possible โ€œif there is no doubt about safetyโ€. The State Monitoring of the Mines will be subject to increased supervision if the process is already resumed.

Several parties urged Vijlbrief that he will not allow water injections to resume. But according to the Secretary of State, that is not possible, because the NAM has a permit that he cannot just withdraw.

From Twente to Drenthe

The injections in Twente will stop at the end of this year anyway, the company recently announced. The wastewater will then be stored in the vicinity of Schoonebeek, where oil extraction also takes place.

Just like the House, Vijlbrief does not want the problem to only be moved from Twente to Drenthe. By the beginning of 2024 at Schoonebeek, there must be a circular system. This means that the waste water is extensively treated, so that only substances go into the soil that have also come out of it.

Still, the local residents in Drenthe are also worried. Vijlbrief committed that they will be involved in decision-making through a public participation procedure.