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    Dutch GasTerra Sells Less in 2017


Gas demand was down again in 2017, while prices rose, but the future overall looks bleak for GasTerra's core business.

by: William Powell

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Natural Gas and LNG News, Europe, Corporate, Import/Export, News By Country, EU, Netherlands

Dutch GasTerra Sells Less in 2017

Dutch gas marketer GasTerra sold less gas for the second year running in 2017 and turnover was slightly down, it reported March 9. The volume in 2017 was 56.6bn m³, compared with 63.9bn m³ in 2016. Turnover however was €9.6bn ($11.8bn), down only slightly from €9.9bn in 2016, as limits on production from Groningen were mostly offset by higher gas prices.

Economy minister Eric Wiebes has said he will follow the recommendation of mining regulator (SodM) to cut Groningen gas production to no more than 12bn m³/yr as quickly possible on safety grounds. He has asked the companies concerned, including GasTerra, to help in meeting this ambitious target. Groningen field owners, operator NAM (a Shell-Exxon joint venture) plus state holding EBN sell their production from the giant field to GasTerra.

Last year Groningen produced 22.6bn m³; small Dutch fields produced 17.3bn m³; imports supplied 9.3bn m³ and another 7.4bn m³ were bought at hubs. 

Dutch gas transmission operator, Gasunie Transport Services (part of state owned Gasunie), calculates that the volume needed - to replace Groningen gas that will no longer be produced - lies between 14 and 27bn m³/yr, depending on temperatures that are impossible to predict. Every day GasTerra determines how much gas it needs to take off to be able to provide its customers with enough gas. GasTerra and the operator of Groningen gas, NAM, work closely together to even out volumes from the Groningen field over the year, as required by a recommendation from the mining regulator.

The recent developments have also affected GasTerra’s organisation. The number of jobs in GasTerra has fallen significantly since 2015. The company is now considering how the knowledge and skills of its employees can best be aligned to future requirements.

GasTerra said that energy supply must be made more sustainable as quickly as possible in  order to counter climate change. "This means that demand for natural gas eventually will fall significantly. At the same time, the share of renewable gas – for the time being still primarily green gas – must increase. Gas can remain a vital and cost-efficient part of a climate-neutral energy supply. GasTerra contributes to this by buying and selling certified renewable gas and by funding research and innovation in the field of the energy transition."

GasTerra is owned 40% by state producer EBN, 50% split equally between Anglo-Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil; and 10% by the Dutch state directly.