Netherlands to be dependent on foreign gas sooner than expected: study

The Netherlands will be dependent on natural gas imports up to six years sooner than the government expects, according to a study by research institute TNO. The researchers call on the government to take timely measures to make sure that households don't end up without gas, NOS reports.

The National Energy Exploration 2016, on which government policy is based, assumes that the Netherlands will become a net importer of gas between 2030 and 2035. But according to TNO, that may be much earlier. How much sooner depends on developments in Groningen regarding fracking earthquakes, as well as political decisions on gas extraction in the province. But according to TNO, the Netherlands will be dependent on gas imports by 2029 at the latest. 

The fact that the Netherlands has to import more gas is not a problem in itself, according to TNO. There are more than enough possibilities and a sufficient supply. The problem lies in the type of gas on offer.

The Netherlands uses low caloric gas for cooking and central heating boilers. That gas is mined in the Netherlands. But the international market only offers high caloric gas. "That means that we will soon have to convert high caloric gas to low caloric gas", researcher Lucia van Geuns said to NOS. "For this you need additional factories." The government must make sure that it starts working on that in time, Van Geuns said.

Converting central heating boilers and gas cookers is not an option, according to the researcher. "That is such a huge operation. In addition, we want to switch to sustainable energy, then such an investment is too much."