Netherlands: international rules for energy exploitation in the Arctic

The Netherlands wants to see international rules introduced for energy exploitation in the Arctic, according to Maxime Verhagen, Minister of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation in a speech at the international energy conference ONS in Stavanger, Norway.

Prevent environmental damage

The Arctic region has huge reserves of oil and gas. But the impact of exploiting these resources on the region’s vulnerable environment is difficult to predict at this time. That is why the Netherlands is calling for binding international rules to prevent environmental damage.


‘We should not overestimate the energy industry’s capacity for self-regulation in the Arctic,’ said Mr Verhagen. ‘Because of the diverging geopolitical and commercial interests, we need new international rules.’ Demand for energy continues to grow. Most of the reserves are within the countries bordering on the North Pole. That is why the Netherlands believes that oil and gas exploitation in the North Pole region is merely a question of time.

Cleaner technologies

‘The challenge we face is not whether we should permit energy exploitation, but how to do it responsibly,’ said Mr Verhagen to an audience of government leaders, ministers, CEOs from the oil and gas industry and energy analysts. Responsible exploitation will call for an innovative approach. Mr Verhagen announced that the Netherlands and Norway will take the lead in developing safer, cleaner technologies for exploiting oil and gas.

50,000 visitors from more than 90 countries have come to Stavanger for the ONS conference. This year’s keynote theme is the geopolitical challenges of energy exploitation.