The cabinet will decide in June whether the Groningen gas field will remain in pilot flame for another year.

The cabinet will decide in June whether the Groningen gas field will remain in pilot flame for another year.

It is possible to completely stop gas production in Groningen on October 1, but it is also possible for production to remain at pilot flame for another year. Foreign Minister Vijlbrief (mining) writes to the House of Representatives that the cabinet will decide this in June.

Vijlbrief writes that whether Groningen will close this fall will depend on international conditions. A prerequisite is the availability of sufficient imported gas at the storage facilities. This is why Gasunie recommends keeping the Groningen site in the pilot light for a longer period of time.

Gasunie finds stopping production risky in terms of security of supply. One can imagine scenarios where Russian gas will no longer be imported and due to market uncertainties caused by the war in Ukraine, “unfortunately” the Netherlands will not have enough gas next winter.

maintain the infrastructure

A spokesman for the Foreign Minister said that Gasunie is one of the advisory bodies. Vijlbrief will take this advice into account when deciding on the next gas year.

Groningenveld has been in pilot light since October 1, 2022. This means that only the minimum amount of gas is removed to sustain the infrastructure. By October 1 this year, 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas will have been pumped. If it falls, the wells will have to be shut down and will no longer be usable if more gas is needed unexpectedly.

According to Vijlbrief, all conditions set to stop gas production in Groningen in 2018 have now been met. For example, the gas storage facility in Grijpskerk has been converted to low calorie “Groninger Gas” and much less low calorie gas is exported. Five of the nine major gas consumers in the Netherlands have now switched to high-calorie gas.

The new nitrogen plant in Zuidbroek, which aims to make the imported gas suitable for Dutch furnaces and central heating boilers, can be used no later than 1 October after many delays.

‘Good news’

Vijlbrief: “I almost did everything I could to close the Groningen field. This is good news.” However, due to the war in Ukraine, it remains unclear whether enough high-calorie gas can be imported.

He hopes to gain more certainty on this in June and will therefore make a final decision on the closure. “The starting point is I would like to close Groningen no later than October or October of next year.”

Source: NOS