Gasunie is reportedly not ruling out the possibility of bringing gas extraction levels in Groningen below 12 billion cubic meters.
Translation by Traci White
According to NOS, the Dutch State Supervision of Mines has been calling for gas extraction levels to be brought below that level for years. The Dutch parliament will vote on a motion calling for lowering extraction levels as quickly as possible on Tuesday.
The discussion about how rapidly extraction levels can be reduced has been going on for years against the backdrop of continued induced earthquakes in the region. One of the main issues is ensuring that the gas supply for existing contracts, especially abroad, will still be fulfilled. Around five million homes in Germany are reliant on Groningen gas at the moment.
During a debate in parliament last week, several political factions asserted that the safety of the residents of Groningen needed to be made a higher priority than business contracts. Gasunie has said that it is willing to re-evaluate the current reduction timeline to see if it would be possible to reduce levels more significantly before the year 2022.
Gasterra, the distributor of the Groningen field gas, says that guaranteeing reductions is also dependent on factors that the company has no control over, such as weather (especially how cold the winters are) and demand levels as users may switch to other heating systems and energy sources.
One possible way to reduce the demand on the Groningen field is to increase production other small gas fields in the north, but local governments and citizens are already expressing reservations about that alternative.