Prepare Groningen for more gas extraction: Mining Council
The Cabinet should prepare Groningen for more gas extraction in the province, the Mining Council, an independent group of energy experts established by law, said in advice to the government. The Mining Council also urged the government to fill gas reserves to 100 percent, not 80 percent as planned, De Telegraaf reports.
Over the past months, Climate Minister Rob Jetten and Mining State Secretary Hans Vijlbrief repeatedly said that the Groningen gas field will remain on "pilot light" this year and will definitely close in 2023 and 2024. But due to the uncertainty in the gas market caused by Russia invading Ukraine, the experts in the Mining Council think that the Cabinet can't be so sure of itself.
The Mining Council called the government's plans to prevent a winter in the cold insufficient. For example, Mining Council isn't convinced that the Netherlands' attempts to source additional liquified gas (LNG) supply will be enough to replace all Russian gas. They, therefore, call on the government to start preparing Groningen. "In the eyes of the Mining Council, the use of the Groningen field for filling the storage and as an emergency measure is a realistic option to consider and prepare for."
The government must investigate and clearly state how much production is needed in the various scenarios to fill the gas storage. "And how much gas can be extracted from the Groningen field within the applicable safety standards."
The Mining Council also thinks the gas storage facilities must be filled completely and more quickly to prevent shortages in the winter. "The security of gas supply is under considerable pressure and is not guaranteed in several future scenarios. Thinking about and preparing for government intervention is therefore justified," Mining Council chairman Staf Depla said to the Telegraaf. "Set against the costs of the possible social disruption - especially in the more extreme scenarios - the Mining Council thinks these costs are worth it."
Jetten and Vijlbrief said they would "study the advice" and "include it in our follow-up actions to ensure the security of supply."