Natural gas production at the Netherlands’ Groningen field has halved in the past gas year, which ran from October 2019 until September 2020, Kallanish Energy reports.
According to the latest data published by NAM, the joint venture operating the onshore gas field, production volumes declined 50.6% to 8.65 billion cubic meters (Bcm). In gas year 2018, the field produced 17.51 Bcm.
Output at Groningen has been gradually reduced before being phased out in mid-2022. The early closure of the field was imposed by the government as a measure to end local earthquakes, caused by hydrocarbon extraction.
Yet, NAM produced much less than the 11.8 Bcm production cap set by the government for the year.
For gas year 2020, the cap has been further lowered to 8.1 Bcm. The recent adjustments come as the government seeks to minimize chances of earthquakes of magnitude 3.6 or higher near active wells.
Earlier this year, NAM voiced its desire to not keep Groningen as an energy “backup” tool for the Netherlands. The joint venture of ExxonMobil and Shell said in July there is no role for the field post 2022, despite the government’s call for it to be available post closure deadline, in case of harsh winters and higher gas demand.
“The (economy) minister has indicated that he wants to close the field as soon as possible. As far as NAM is concerned, this could be done in 2022. A backup role after that would be undesirable and unnecessary,” said Wessel de Haas, NAM onshore asset manager.
NAM claims there are alternatives available for the energy industry, while further investigations could reveal other ways to continue meeting the Dutch and European gas demand. To keep the field on stand-by in case needed, would require NAM to maintain minimum production levels of around 2.4 to 5.8 Bcm/y, it said.
This post appeared first on Kallanish Energy News.