When gas extraction operations in Groningen end in 2030, economic minister Eric Wiebes says there will still be 50 billion euros’ worth of gas left in the ground.
During a visit to Groningen this week, Wiebes told Dagblad van het Noorden that he is in talks with NAM, as well as the companies that ultimately own them, Shell and ExxonMobil, about the financial impact of ending gas extraction. The decision is a hard pill to swallow for the companies.
“I usually want things to go quickly, but it’s not just up to me”, Wiebes said of the ongoing talks with the gas companies. “They’re tough talks. But I want to be perfectly clear; the safety of the residents of Groningen is our first priority.”
The cabinet members also fiercely debated Wiebes’ proposal to shut the gas valves once and for all. “The cabinet members feel like it’s a huge step to take, and it was fairly unexpected. I’ve spoken with my colleagues and others outside of the government about different ways that we can go about it. Everyone had already agreed to scaling it back to 12 billion cubic meters per year, but ending it altogether was still a surprise.”