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Gas Production From Giant Groningen Field To Halt Completely On October 1

The giant Groningen gas field will close completely on October 1, 2023, the Council of Ministers meeting determined on Friday, sealing the fate of the field for good after a draft decision that was proposed in June.

The Council also decided that all extraction locations for Groningen will be demolished in October 2024-ensuring that the fields won't ever be able to be restarted after that date.

Today was the last opportunity for government officials to raise concerns about the draft decision to stop all gas production from the controversial field.

Until the date of demolition, however, the field will be operational in the event of extreme need. "Only in special situations, such as extreme cold, will it be possible to extract gas temporarily and to a limited extent this coming winter," the Council wrote, adding that only under these circumstances would it be possible to temporarily start up one or more production locations to the pilot light levels-when "very severe cold is predicted."

The Council provided an example of consecutive days of temperatures below -6.5C that occur with another emergency, such as a gas storage facility failure.

The country agreed to phase out gas extraction in the province a couple of years ago due to earthquakes that were thought to be associated with natural gas extraction. But rising gas prices amid the energy crunch over the last two winters gave rise to speculation that the province could keep the fields operational for a little while longer. Now, a law requires the fields to be demolished as of next October.

The province has seen more than a thousand earthquakes over the last couple of decades, while the government raked in the equivalent of €360 billion in today's money from gas revenues. Another €66 billion went to the oil and gas companies, Shell and Exxon. Shell and Exxon were told back in 2013 that they had to begin reducing output and gear up for shutting the field down completely.

By Julianne Geiger for

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Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group. More