Groningen gas field extraction to be reduced by more than a third from October
The Cabinet announced its intention to further close the Groningen gas tap at the start of the upcoming gas year, which officially begins on 1 October. A minimal amount of gas will be pulled out of the Groningen field, which the Cabinet compared to the amount of gas needed to keep a pilot light burning.
This concerns 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas, State Secretary Hans Vijlbrief announced on Monday. For this gas year, which comes to a close at the end of September, the production ceiling was approximately 4.5 billion cubic meters of gas. The amount is equivalent to a reduction of nearly 38 percent.
The Cabinet previously made it known that it wanted to turn off the gas tap, but the war in Ukraine and the resulting shortage of gas created too many uncertainties. During the autumn of 2023, and no later than 2024, the Cabinet plans to shut off the gas tap completely.
But Vijlbrief still could adjust this policy. Extraction from the Groningen field can only be reduced to zero "if the geopolitical situation allows it,” he said.
The Cabinet never wanted to make a firm promise that the gas field would close, partly because of the war in Ukraine. However, the Cabinet always emphasized that it would be the very last option to resolve an energy crisis if the Netherlands ran into problems regarding gas supply.
The fact that the field is closing has to do with the frequency of earthquakes that Groningen has been suffering from for decades. There was another earthquake with a magnitude of 2.7 on the Richter scale near Uithuizermeeden over the weekend. An earthquake measuring 1.7 was also reported in Uithizen.
Thus far, the Groningen institute for monitoring damage due to the earthquakes, IMG, said it received 136 reports of damage. That rose from 52 on Saturday evening. About 50 of the reports were from near the epicenters, while 86 came from outside of the immediate area.
Now that gas prices are rising, there are some calling for more gas to be extracted from the Groningen field and, for example, to use the proceeds to compensate Groningen residents for the additional damage suffered. But the State Supervision of Mines (SodM) has been warning for some time that it is simply not safe to open the gas tap further.
Reporting by ANP