Drilling may 'kill' Mediterranean - WWF

2011-02-10 12:01

Rome - A rush to drill in the gas-rich Mediterranean may do permanent damage to the sea's wildlife as it takes at least a millennium for an ecosystem to grow, the World Wildlife Fund warned on Wednesday.

Drilling in the Mediterranean's eastern region shared by Turkey, Israel and Egypt, "could cause irreversible damage" to its biodiversity, said Sergi Tudela, head of WWF's Mediterranean Fisheries Programme.

The area hosts rare and millennia-old species such as deep-sea sponges, worms, molluscs and cold water corals, and therefore are "particularly fragile and vulnerable to external interference", he added in a statement.

Once a deep-sea floor has been drilled, "it can take a millennium or more before the unique micro-ecosystem grows again, so the most fragile and valuable species and under-sea areas must be left untouched by gas development".

The recently discovered Leviathan gas field, 135km off the Israeli coast, is the world's biggest deep-water gas discovery in a decade, with an estimated volume of 0.45 trillion cubic metres of gas.

Earlier this year the West Nile Delta gas field was discovered, lying in Egyptian waters 80km off Alexandria.

The green group called on a handful of Mediterranean countries and the EU to ban industrial development and drilling in deep-sea areas where the biodiversity is rich.

  • Crispy_Duck - 2011-02-10 12:17

    16Tcf....that's a whoppah!

  • IrenĂ© - 2011-02-10 12:42

    Ironic that we value that what is beneath the soil so much more than what is above the soil. When will we learn that the gas and oil we use come at a very expensive price, only nature is paying not us. Shows the sheer stupidity of mankind, greedy manipulative, lying scum who will now try find viable 'environmental' reasons to drill. You know, muck up the area with fracking, then they sell the damaged land for next to nothing, and then the Oil companies promise to use revenue from the oil to rehabilitate the area. Am I the only one thinking this is Fracking insane???

      kznsc - 2011-02-10 13:03

      No i share the sentiment. This is a last ditched idea to make money from oil and gas before there is less money to be made due to solar, wind and sun energy.

      Zion - 2011-09-11 16:27

      IRENE,when walking to work then I suggest you repeat your comment.

  • nixcroft - 2011-02-10 14:14

    i agree that burning more fossil fuel is nto the way to go, and i agree drilling for gas and oil is generally not good for the environment. BUT, and this is the problem i have with these bunny hugging wild life groups... they say it takes a millenia for the ecosystem to repair itself... HOW ON EARTH do they know that ? Point one wildlife and ecosystems have not been observed for a thousand years scientifically. Point two : We haven't been pumping oil and gas for a thousand years either. This is very convenient because in a thousand years time no one is going to remember who did or said what in regards to a gas filed of the coast of egypt or isreal.

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