Dutch government to end Groningen gas production eight years earlier than planned
10 September 2019
Gas production at the Groningen field in the Netherlands will be halted entirely by 2022, eight years earlier than initially planned by the Dutch government, broadcaster NOS reported on September 10. Citing anonymous government sources, NOS said production would be capped below 12 billion cubic metres (bcm) in the 12 months through October 2020. The government had previously set a production cap for the period at 15.9 bcm.
Netherlands gas production by area 2008 - Image: Wikimedia
The province of Groningen has been hit by a series of earthquakes due to ground settlement after gas extraction, the latest at 3.4 on the Richter scale in May. This has resulted in damage to many buildings and infrastructure installations.
After an earlier 3.4 quake in January 2018, the government pledged to end production by 2030 and to lower it as quickly as possible in coming years.
Output at the Groningen field, which is operated by NAM, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, was due to to fall to 19.4 bcm in the year through October 2019, down from a 2013 peak of 54 bcm.
Residents demanding an outright stoppage took their fight to the highest court in the Netherlands early this year. In March, Dutch MPs unanimously backed a call for a parliamentary inquiry into continued gas extraction in the province.
After last year’s quake, gas sector regulator SodM said production should be cut to less than 12 bcm as soon as possible to minimise seismic risks.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte said everyone had been optimistic about the discovery of the vast gas field under the province in in the 1950s, but it had now “turned into a nightmare”.
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