Natural gas is one of the most important sources of energy in the Netherlands. Most of the household and businesses use natural gas. The NAM is an innovative company which delivers energy to the society and industry. They do this by tracing, developing and producing oil and gas from the Dutch surface.
However, they inject the waste water in the ground of a certain area in the Netherlands: Twente. In 2015, they went beyond the boundary of 300.000 barrel a month due to the injection of waste water, 1 barrel is 159 liters. In October of this year, they injected 380.000 barrel in a pit in Weerselo (a city in Holland). An American investigation concluded that the chance at earthquakes increases when you go beyond the boundary of 300.000 barrel a month. It is not ethical justified that NAM increases the chances on earthquakes for the Dutch society.
There is lots of resistance against injecting waste water, both governmental as from the citizens who are living in this area. That’s why they came up with several alternatives to purify the waste water, like complete purification of the production water, followed by dumping clean fresh water on the surface water. There should be a residual with lots of salt. Nevertheless, the investigated alternatives for injecting water are more expensive and also bad for the environment. They might be even worse.
Injecting oil waste water and purifying waste water is compared. It appears that purifying waste water is less suited because of the high use of energy, the residual substances who remain, the risks of transport on the short term and the residual waste on the long term. Also, the construction costs of a purifier are rated as unfavorable. On the contrary, with injecting it is possible to decrease the added substances by replacing the transport-pipelines en by minimizing the dosages of mining additives. In December of 2016 it became clear that injecting oil waste water in the surface of Twente can be more environmentally friendly then purifying the waste water.
So, we can conclude that of all the possible alternatives, injecting is the less harmful but still dangerous because of the chance on earthquakes and the pollution of the water. Alternative methods are promised but the results won’t be available in the coming five years. In the meantime the ground of Twente will be poisoned by the injection of waste water which has adverse effects on our drinking water and that is in our opinion ethical unjustified.
So, environmentally seen, injecting waste water into the ground is the best solution at this point, other alternatives are not proved to be better. But still, the boundary of 300.000 barrel can be exceeded which can cause earthquakes and the drinking water can be poisoned by the waste water. Unfortunately, we can’t provide a better method, that’s up to NAM. Because we think that NAM is unethical in her acts. They must take responsibility to ensure the health and safety of the inhabitants of Twente.
How do you feel about the actions of the NAM? Do you think this is ethical?
Please let us know in a comment below!