EU’s biggest gas field running low on stocks
THE Groningen natural gas field, the largest in the European Union, is running out of reserves, with an estimated 17 years left before stocks will be depleted, the Netherlands has announced.
“Dutch natural gas is nearly finished,” said Peter Hein van Mulligen, chief economist at the country’s Central Statistics Bureau (CBS).
“Since natural gas was discovered in 1959 in Groningen, we’ve used up some 80 percent of our reserves. If the rate of extraction stays the same, we’ll be out of gas in 17 years from now,” Mr Van Mulligen said.
A drop in natural gas prices and the Dutch government’s decision over the last two years to scale down natural gas extraction in its earthquakeprone northern province have also led to a substantial decline in profit, the CBS economist said.
In 2013, the government made around 13 billion euros (US$14.5 billion) from natural gas, but that dropped to around 5 billion euros last year.
The Hague announced in June it was planning to cut the Groningen gas field’s production by another 11.1pc – from a current 27 billion cubic metres to 24 billion cubic metres – over the next five years.
The cutbacks come after a series of tremors rocked Groningen as a result of the collapse of empty underground gas pockets, scaring residents and damaging historical buildings. –