The North Sea has become western Europe’s most important oil and gas production area, yielding high-quality crude oil with a low-sulfur content. The use of space for oil and gas extraction requires continuing attention. No shipping or other use is allowed in a 500-metre zone around the platforms. This places local restrictions on the fishing industry, shipping and recreation (craft). It is not permitted to drag fishing nets over the seabed and in the water column in this security zone. When choosing the location for a drilling platform, shipping and other uses must be taken into account. In clearways for shipping, mining activities are, in principle, not permitted. However, most of the interaction is with wind energy areas, especially with regard to helicopter safety zones.
Oil & Gas Installations is a static data layer. They are points that you can place, edit or remove when making a plan.
Oil & gas installations create the following pressures on the ecosystem:
None of the three fishing fleets (bottom trawl, drift and fixed nets, industrial and pelagic trawl) fish at oil & gas installations.
Discoveries of petroleum and natural gas beneath the seafloor began in 1959, when a seaward extension of a major natural gas field in the northeastern part of the Netherlands was identified. Within two decades, natural gas production sites were located along a 100-mile (160-km) band stretching from the Netherlands to eastern England. Farther north, Norway’s first offshore oil field went into production in 1971, and the United Kingdom began recovering offshore oil from the North Sea four years later. In the central portions of the North Sea, offshore oil wells now stretch from north of the Shetlands for more than 400 miles (640 km) to the south, and the region accounts for a significant portion of the world’s total offshore oil production. Oil is brought ashore in pipelines to terminals in the Shetland and Orkney islands, the northeastern coast of the Scottish mainland, and northern England.
The North Sea has become western Europe’s most important oil and gas production area, yielding high-quality crude oil with a low-sulfur content. The two largest producers are Norway and the United Kingdom, and until 1990 the annual yields of the two countries were comparable. By the early 21st century, however, Norway had clearly become the leader of oil and gas production in the North Sea region. Other minor producers include Denmark, the Netherlands, and Germany. New fields are being explored and developed farther north in the Norwegian and Barents seas. Discoveries west of the Shetland Islands have increased the United Kingdom’s proven oil reserves. Natural gas is becoming an increasingly important source of energy for western Europe, and several major pipelines have been constructed to transport the gas. Among the most significant of these is the Langeled pipeline between the United Kingdom and Norway, completed in 2006.
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