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Offshore drilling

For more than 10 years, Surfrider Europe has been fighting against offshore drilling by mobilizing on local, national and European levels.

Offshore drilling is the activity of extracting oil and gas deposits from the sea or the ocean.

As oil and gas reserves wane, the drilling moves further from the coast and deeper from the surface. Today, some platforms drill at more than 3000m underwater, extracting resources that are more than 12000m deep. The deeper we go, the more risk we are imposing on the environment and human lives.

Dangers of offshore drilling

Offshore drilling is composed with several steps, each one presenting a real risk.


The noise emitted during seismic testing deafens marine mammals and causes increased beach strandings, while having an additional impact on fish and plankton. 

Exploration and exploitation

Outside of great risk of gas and oil spills, the daily release of toxic substances pollutes the waters (liquid sludge can contain arsenic, mercury, radioactive materials, etc.) with irreversible consequences for the environment. 


Finally, when oil and gas platforms are not properly dismantled, they become marine waste, leaving behind thousands of tons of contaminated water, the concrete bases and parts of metal structures. The majority of platforms can’t be 100% dismantled. 

To learn more, read our blogpost about offshore drilling dangers. 

Map of oil and gas offshore platforms in Europe

View the full map here

What does Surfrider Europe advocate for?

Surfrider Europe is calling for a ban on offshore oil and gas exploration and exploitation in all European waters by 2035.

As provisional steps, we are asking the European Union and its Member States to:

– Stop approving new drilling permits both for exploration and exploitation by 2023 .

– Refuse renewals on issued authorizations after their expiration date in order to reach a complete phase-out by 2035 .

– Stop exploitation and exploration activities in and around Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) .

– Stop offshore drilling in the EU and the EEA Arctic waters.

To learn more about our position, read our Manifesto co-signed with 25 NGOs from all over Europe.

What can you do?


Inform yourself, spread the word

Offshore drilling remains a relatively unknown topic today, even though it has disastrous effects on the oceans. The first step to stop it: learning about the subject, talking about it around you… it all starts with a first step!


Contact your MEP

Surfrider Europe launches in 2020 the askforchange platform, created to allow citizens to reach out to their MEPs aboutoffshore drilling. Today, we have a real opportunity to ban oil and gas drilling by acting at the European level. For Surfrider Europe’s demands to be heard and implemented by decision-makers, the voice of citizens counts!


Volunteer or donate for #DrillingIsKilling

Surfrider Europe’s strength comes from its volunteers in the field. You can donate your time to fight against offshore drilling or participate by making a donation to the fund dedicated to the project. This will be used to help the association to move forward in its fight against offshore drilling!