Dutch govt to keep Groningen output at minimum
The Dutch government plans to keep output at the giant Groningen field at the minimum level needed to keep its remaining wells operational in the year beginning October 1, it said on September 26, despite concerns about potential gas shortages in Europe this winter.
The decision follows the advice of gas grid operator GTS, which said earlier this month that there was not need to increase production at the field, given European efforts to stock up on supplies ahead of winter and high prices that have led to demand destruction.
Production at Groningen is due to be lowered to 2.8bn m3 in the year up to September 30, 2023, as previously planned, versus 4.6bn m3 in the current 12-month period. It will then be closed down in 2023, or 2024 at the latest, the government said.
The Netherlands committed to closing down Groningen some years ago, because repeated tremors over its decades of development have caused considerable damage to local buildings. There have been some calls to ramp up output, however, in light of the tightness of the European gas market. But Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte has resisted those pleas, and has had to weigh energy security up against the massive compensation demands from the Groningen community.
The NAM consortium comprising ExxonMobil and Shell that operates Groningen recently told NGW that production could be lifted to 22-25bn m3/yr within a short period, if ordered by the government.