Groningen gas tap to extract nearly twice as much gas in spite of earthquakes

The gas field in Groningen has been a source of debate and frustration in the Netherlands for years.

So, when the expected closure of the field was announced for mid-2022, environmentalists and Groningers took a collective sigh of relief.

READ MORE | Groningen shaken by one of its worst earthquakes to date

Nevertheless, the Groningen plant still has one last gas year (October 2021-September 2022) to run through — and turns out it won’t be a neat closing act.

Dutch government to extract almost twice as much gas

Despite the original plans to extract 3.9 billion cubic metres of gas this year, the Ministry of Economic Affairs has informed that they now expect 7.6 billion cubic metres to be extracted before September 2022, writes NU.nl. 🙃

The reason for this jump is two-fold:

Firstly, the opening of a nitrogen plant in Zuidbroek is delayed. The plant was supposed to supplement the supply of low-calorific gas for Dutch households but now the mining in Groningen must cover the shortage.

Secondly, the Netherlands is covering Germany’s bottom. Demand from Germany has risen sharply as the country has decreased their own extraction of gas — all the while energy-saving measures there have proved less efficient than expected.

According to NU.nl, the outgoing Minister of Economic Affairs, Stef Blok, has “expressed his great concerns” about the high demand from Germany.

What about the earthquakes?

In recent years, the severity and frequency of earthquakes in the region around the extraction plant have increased.

READ MORE | Groningen residents experience three earthquakes in one day

While the Ministry of Economic Affairs says “It was previously calculated by TNO that extracting 7.5 billion cubic meters of gas has little or no effect,” the engineering firm has been asked to perform a new seismic threat and risk analysis for Groningen.

Based on these new risk calculations, the Ministry of Economic Affairs will make the final decision about how much gas to extract in Groningen by April 1.

Opening is “incomprehensible”

However, the Groninger Soil Movement (GBB) which defends the interest of people affected by the gas extraction, says “The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate is playing with the safety of Groningers.”

The movement emphasises the dangerous and costly effects of gas extraction for residents and calls an increase in extraction “incomprehensible.”

“The increase in gas extraction means that the unsafe situation in Groningen will continue even longer, especially with a lagging reinforcement operation. In addition, it remains a guess when the gas tap will be turned off for good – people in Groningen live in uncertainty and are worried about their future,” the GBB writes in a statement.

What do you think of the potential increase in gas extraction? Tell us in the comments below!

Image: CreativeNature/Depositphotos

Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
Christine Stein Hededam 🇩🇰
A Dane with a special place in her heart for Minnesota, Christine is now falling in love with everything Dutch. Between finishing her bachelor’s degree, learning Dutch, and doing yoga teacher training, you will find her wandering about the Hague. Always up for visiting new places, she loves to explore the Netherlands with friends and takes pride in scoping out cute cafés (wherein to discuss books, big plans, and food).

3 COMMENTS

  1. There seems to be no limit of things to trigger frightened, constantly fearful people who behave like Chicken Little. Natural gas heats our homes, cooks our food, and is the “fuel” (no pun intended) for countless industries.

  2. Someone needs to arrest those German ‘Greens’ who are literally ‘greenwashing’ Germany. Shutting nuclear power plants and coal plants while importing all this from outside Germany.
    Importing all those cheap Chinese goods that were created by coal fired powerplants.
    But it sure feels good to think Germany is reducing it’s co2 emissions !
    It looks nice on paper !

  3. as an oil and gas producer for 50 years, I fail to see how the extraction of gas is causing earthquakes… must be some strange geology there…

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