Groningen Set to Close Mid-2022
The Dutch government now anticipates the closure of the giant Groningen gas deposit in mid-2022, eight years earlier than previously thought.
Dutch economy and climate change minister Eric Wiebes informed parliament of the revised schedule in a letter, the government said in a statement on September 10.
The Dutch State Supervision of Mines has recommended a cap on the field’s production of 12bn m3 for the year starting October 1, but the government said output would fall even further to 11.8bn m3. Extraction has been limited at 19.4bn m3 during the current gas year, between October 1, 2018 and September 30, 2019.
The government said it was taking a number of additional measures to fast-track the field’s shutdown. This is possible as the Netherlands can now convert more imported high-calorific gas into the low-calorific standard produced at Groningen. More large industrial users are also switching to alternative fuel sources, it said.
Even after its closure, Groningen will remain on standby to meet exceptional spikes in gas demand as a result of cold weather.
Groningen, Europe’s largest gas field, is operated by ExxonMobil and Shell. As recently as 2013 it produced almost 54bn m3 of gas, but authorities later announced plans to close the field because of earthquakes caused by production activities.