Greenpeace sues OMV Petrom, Romgaz over Neptun Deep natural gas project in Romania's Black Sea
International environmental NGO Greenpeace said it is suing authorities and companies involved in the Neptun Deep natural gas exploitation project in Romania's Black Sea over irregularities in the approval process.
Greenpeace is suing OMV Petrom and Romgaz, the two partner companies involved in the project.
The NGO argues that the Environmental Protection Agency in Constanța, on the shore of the Black Sea, issued the environmental permit in violation of legal provisions, without conducting crucial studies to correctly assess the risks involved.
Activists argue that the state agency granted the environmental permit without an adequate environmental impact assessment study, without studies on the impact on public health, water bodies, and climate change, and without assessing the transboundary impact, as required by national, union, and international regulations.
"Authorities must be held accountable for the irresponsible manner in which they favorably authorize projects with a destructive impact on people and the environment. The same authorities should protect the environment and the interests of the citizens. Instead, they issue permits carelessly, in the interest of companies, without evaluating the impact on public health and nature. We will pursue all avenues to ensure that harmful projects, such as Neptun Deep, do not affect people's health and do not destroy precious marine ecosystems," stated Alin Tănase, campaign coordinator, Greenpeace Romania, cited in the press release.
The NGO argues that the Neptun Deep project presents a series of notable risks, from threatening vulnerable species in the Black Sea to intensifying the effects of climate change.
"In our opinion, it was necessary to go through the transboundary procedure from the initial planning stage, and in conditions where this procedure was not followed at all from a triple perspective (the dimension of the project and the surface area of the plan, the effect on the Black Sea and underground waters, and climate change, the environmental permit is illegal," stated the lawyers from Revnic Cristian and Associates, the law firm representing Greenpeace in court.
The Neptun Deep project is the largest natural gas project in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea, covering an area of 7,500 km² and located approximately 160 km off the Romanian coast. OMV and Romgaz are set to invest up to EUR 4 billion for the development phase of the project. The first natural gas is to be extracted in 2027.
Once fully developed, Neptun Deep would make Romania the largest natural gas provider in the EU, bringing EUR 40 billion to the national economy, according to OMV.
(Photo source: Greenpeace.org)