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Top Dutch Court To Rule On Groningen Gas Field Suspension

Amsterdam

The top administrative court of the Netherlands will hear on Thursday two urgent requests to halt gas production at the giant Groningen field, but the ruling is not expected to be issued for another “few weeks” and will probably come at the end of this month, a spokeswoman for the court told S&P Global Platts on Monday.

Groningen in the north of the Netherlands has been pumping gas for more than half a century and supplies gas to 98 percent of the Dutch population. But the field has been causing earthquakes that have become a growing concern for residents and authorities.

After years of debates and measures to curb production at the field, the Dutch government decided in March last year that output at Groningen would be terminated by 2030, with a reduction by two-thirds until 2021-2022 and another cut after that. The authorities have already limited production from the field because of the earthquakes, but they decided last year that the risks and costs were no longer acceptable.

Production at Groningen has more than halved from a 2013 peak of 54 billion cubic meters, according to Platts. 

The Groningen production for this gas year—between October 2018 and September 2019—has been set at 19.4 Bcm, but a number of petitions and requests have been filed at court, including two emergency requests challenging this gas year’s cap of 19.4 Bcm and asking for production to be halted, awaiting a final decision.

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“We expect the ruling will be given a few weeks after the hearing, so at the end of January,” the spokeswoman for the court told Platts today.

Last week, the court said that it had received as many as 26 objections to the government’s plan for production reduction. Two emergency requests challenging this year’s output cap call for suspension of the production will be heard on Thursday, January 17. All the other objections will be heard in April this year, according to the court.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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