MOSCOW, 19 Sep — PRIME. Gas production at a large field in the Dutch province of Groningen in the current conditions can be reduced to a minimum calculated earlier, gas operator Gasunie Transport Services (GTS) said.
In January, GTS submitted a report for the next gas year to the State Secretary of Mining in the Netherlands, in which the operator calculated the level of production from the Groningen field required to ensure safe gas volumes. It follows from the report that the field can operate in a “pilot mode”, which implies a minimum production.
The outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine had a big impact on the energy market, the operator said, as Russian gas supplies to Europe declined and prices rose sharply. This led to a significant decrease in demand for it, while European countries began to fill gas storage facilities. In this regard, GTS conducted an additional study, as a result of which it came to the conclusion that the previously announced minimum production is sufficient in the current conditions.
“Our conclusion… is that the capacity of 4.4 million cubic meters per hour and the corresponding volume (production – ed.) of 2.8 billion cubic meters for the 2022-2023 gas year is still sufficient to ensure the safety of the proposal “, the message says.
The giant gas field at Groningen in the north of the Netherlands was discovered in 1959, and development began in 1963. The initial recoverable gas reserves of the field amounted to 2.9 trillion cubic meters. However, due to numerous earthquakes in the province in the 1990s, the authorities decided to gradually limit production at the field. The gas field was expected to be closed between 2025 and 2028, but the authorities recently announced their intention to permanently close it in 2023 or 2024.
In June, the Dutch Mining Council (Mijnraad), which advises the Cabinet on energy issues, urged the government to prepare the Groningen field for an increase in gas production in connection with the situation on the gas market in order to fill the storage facilities in the country by 100%. However, Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that increasing production at the field would be a “last resort” but not enough to change gas prices.