Half of Groningen gas field to close permanently starting this weekend
Six of the 11 remaining Groningen production sites for the extraction of natural gas will close on Saturday. Production at the remaining five locations will be kept to a trickle so that they can be used immediately to extract additional gas in case of emergency, reported State Secretary Hans Vijlbrief on Friday.
The Cabinet's decision marks another step towards the definitive closure of the Groningen gas field. The previous Cabinet decided to do so five years ago for the safety of the residents in the extraction area. Over the past decades, natural gas extraction has caused frequent earthquakes resulting in considerable physical and emotional damage as a result.
In recent years, gas production in Groningen has been gradually phased out. The gas used by Dutch households for cooking and heating now largely comes from abroad. An additional plant has also been built to make gas suitable for Dutch gas stoves and central heating boilers by mixing it with nitrogen.
"We all now know the consequences of gas extraction in Groningen," said Vijlbrief. "Families have been torn apart, people have died from stress, and children have grown up without the carefree childhood they deserve." The Cabinet's goal is to close the Groningen field as soon as possible, preferably as early as next fall and otherwise no later than the fall of 2024.
The Cabinet has intensified efforts to save energy, especially following the Russian invasion of Ukraine last year. Coupled with an exceptionally mild winter, this has led to a substantial decrease in gas consumption across the Netherlands.
Consequently, the additional reserves established as a precautionary measure remained largely untouched. By the end of March, gas storage facilities were still filled to just over 59 percent of capacity.