Groningen gas should be a ‘real option’ if Russia cuts supplies further

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The government should seriously consider increasing gas production in Groningen to avoid shortages this winter if Russia continues to restrict supplies, officials said on Tuesday.

Mining advisory board Mijnraad said in its latest analysis that the country should aim to fill its gas reserves to 100% capacity, above the European Union’s target level of 80%, due to uncertainty. of the market.

Hans Vijlbrief, the minister responsible for gas production, has so far resisted calls to reopen the Groningen gas field, calling it “the ultimate remedy if all else fails”.

The Slochteren gas field is due to close by 2024 because earthquakes triggered by the extraction process have damaged more than 100,000 homes and other buildings, some beyond re

The Mijnraad said it could not guarantee that imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) would make up for potential shortages this winter. “The coronavirus crisis has taught us that extreme situations must be taken into account,” the advisory board wrote.

“Honest Talk”

Staf Depla, chairman of the board, told NOS it was important to be honest with consumers and residents of Groningen saying that increasing production was seen as a “realistic option”.

“If things happen that none of us want to happen, we have to show our hand,” he said. “Be specific about how much we are talking about so we have enough in the winter. We’re not sure exactly what that might mean for security, so do some research now while we still have time, not in the fall.

Last week, Gazprom canceled its contract with Dutch domestic gas wholesaler Gasterra four months earlier because the company refused to pay in roubles.

Gasterra said it anticipated the move and bought 2 billion m3 of gas from other sources to offset Gazprom’s contribution, which amounts to 5% of the Netherlands’ total gas consumption.

Energy Minister Rob Jetten says in a letter to parliament the cabinet is committed to ending the Netherlands’ dependence on Russian gas by the end of this year , but filling gas reserves could become “more difficult” if Russia cancels more contracts with countries that refuse to pay rubles.

Employers’ association VNO-NCW has also expressed concern that businesses could be hit by gas shortages this winter. “Securing oil and gas supplies should be a top policy priority for the Cabinet,” he said, adding that ministers should also act to prevent fuel prices from “skyrocketing”.

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