The Netherlands, an outsider's view.

The Netherlands, an outsider's view.

MILIEU

Groningen gas extraction, advisory body asks the government a phase out term

The Dutch minister of economic affairs and climate policy must give the government’s top advisory body a clearer explanation on how natural gas extraction at Groningen will come to an end. In 2013, output was at 54 billion cubic meters (bcm) and the Dutch gas sector is calling for a cap of 12 bcm for next year to limit risk. This decrease would lead to energy shortages as the Netherlands still heavily relies on Groningen supplies, reports a Reuters article.

Appeals have been lodged by Groningen residents as the gas field poses a threat to their community. Tremors as a result of the drilling have damaged buildings thus forcing authorities to slash production. Most recently, a 3.4 magnitude earthquake shook the area last year, making the government vow to shut down operations by 2030 and decrease production as quickly as possible.

The Council of State’s Administrative Jurisdiction Division (AJD) stated that “the minister has not made it clear what can be done, and at what costs, to achieve a more rapid reduction in the demand for gas from major industrial consumers, the greenhouse horticultural sector and gas exporters.” Eric Wiebes, the minister of economic affairs and climate policy has yet to explain directly how he plans to end gas extraction.

NAM, a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon mobil, operates the field. A possible alternative for reducing reliance on Groningen is by building extra capacity to convert high-caloric imported gas to low-caloric gas needed by the Dutch network.“The minister must make it clear in concrete terms why gas extraction from the Groningen field cannot be phased out more quickly,” says the AJD, according to Reuters.