If the injection of wastewater into the soil of Schoonebeek continues, the region should benefit significantly from the restart of oil extraction. Coevorden claims 20 percent of that proceeds. That can amount to tens of millions.
A motion to that effect received the support of all political groups in the Coevorden city council on Tuesday evening. In theory, about 2000 cubic meters of oil per day can be extracted in Schoonebeek. The sale of crude oil generates between 200 and 550 million euros annually. 40 percent of the proceeds now go to the State and 60 percent to the shareholders of NAM, Shell and Exxon.
Opposition to the water injection is growing from the oil village. In recent weeks, residents have been stirring in the council chambers of both Coevorden and Emmen. The core of their message: pumping production water into the soil is undesirable and the municipalities of Coevorden and Emmen should not blindly follow the NAM and The Hague.
Directors of Emmen and Coevorden have been asked by State Secretary for Mining Hans Vijlbrief (D66) how they view the plans. Vijlbrief must assess the NAM’s permit application itself, but says it values local support in doing so.
Mayors and aldermen of both municipalities said that they understand what NAM wants and that they look forward to the future with confidence.
The Coevorder politics does not share that confidence. “Like Emmen, Coevorden more or less gives permission to restart oil extraction,” said PAC councilor Irene Driehuis. “As a municipality, you say little to no influence on decision-making, but the resistance from Twente and comedian Herman Finkers shows the opposite. If people don’t want it, it won’t happen.”
Council factions in Coevorden unanimously want all the results of investigations to be awaited before a final decision is taken on waste water. Just like a yet to be conducted survey in the area itself. Consequential damage caused by oil extraction and the injection of waste water must be borne by NAM and the State, subject to the reversed burden of proof.
The 20 percent of the net proceeds from oil extraction at Schoonebeek must go into a fund in which Coevorden and Emmen, as municipalities, both own half. It is still unclear whether NAM compensation will only benefit those living in the immediate vicinity or all residents of both municipalities. A scout (Jan Paul van Soest) is currently investigating on behalf of the municipalities what can be obtained from the government and the oil company.
According to alderman Jeroen Huizing (CDA), the municipal council and the municipal executive do not differ that much at all. “Our promise to tighten up the letter was perhaps a bit unclear.” Huizing says that both municipalities and the province have insisted on a contribution for the region from the proceeds. ,,But we don’t think it’s wise to fix ourselves on amounts and percentages. We will not put that in our letter.”
According to council parties, they did not come up with that percentage, but it was mentioned up to twice by NAM director Simon Vroemen. He suggested last year that part of the proceeds could go to Schoonebeek as far as he is concerned. He then publicly mentioned an amount of around 7 million euros, one euro per 1,000 cubic meters of oil extracted, from which, for example, solar panels and heat pumps can be financed.