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The Netherlands Announces Official Closing Of Groningen Gas Fields

The Groningen gas fields will be turned off on October 1 of this year, and permanently close next October, The Netherlands Minister of Mines confirmed on Friday.

According to Netherlands Mines Minister Hans Vijlbrief, the fields, set to shut down on October 1, will remain in operational status for another year just in case the country finds itself on the energy backfoot with an exceptionally cold winter, Vijlbrief said. But as of next October, the gas fields will be closed permanently and dismantled.

Vijlbrief cited years of problems with the fields, including earthquakes. Earlier this year, Vijlbrief said that the notion of continued gas production from Groningen was “politically totally unviable,” before adding that it also increases the chance of earthquakes.

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.

Today, the Netherlands confirmed that it will keep the fields operational for a year past this 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.

Groningen in the north of the Netherlands has been pumping gas for more than half a century and supplied gas to 98 percent of the Dutch population as of 2019.

By Julianne Geiger for Oilprice.com

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