jueves, 10 de febrero de 2011
WWF: Highest environmental standards required for deep-sea floor drilling for gas in the eastern Mediterranean.
After the drilling of oil and oil spill risks they entail, the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) warned on Wednesday February 9 against environmental risks of drilling in deep waters to exploit gas deposits colossal in the eastern Mediterranean, which would cause irreversible damage to marine biodiversity.
The recently discovered Leviathan gas field, 135 km off the coast of Israel - Palestine, is the world’s biggest deepwater gas find in a decade – with an estimated volume of 16 trillion cubic feet of gas – while the West Nile Delta gas field, discovered earlier this year, lies in Egyptian waters, 80 km northwest of Alexandria.
But on these two areas sits a unique and delicate marine ecosystem, whose rich biological communities host rare species of deep-sea sponges, worms, molluscs and cold water corals – some of which are thousands of years old.
The Levant Sea is protected by such laws as a Mediterranean-wide ban on destructive trawl fishing beyond the depth of 1,000 metres by the UN’s General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean, and encompasses two deep-sea Fisheries Restricted Areas where other potentially harmful activities are also limited – in recognition of the sea bed’s value and fragility.
WWF is calling on the eastern Mediterranean states – particularly on Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and Lebanon – and on the European Union, to ensure that the highest environmental standards are set regarding current and prospective developments in deep-sea floor drilling for gas and oil in the eastern Mediterranean, including exploratory drilling and future commercial exploitation.
Further information on: http://wwf.panda.org/?uNewsID=199297