Belgium is demanding a guarantee that the Netherlands will fulfill an agreement to supply natural gas now that extraction from the northern Groningen field is being reduced, website Nu.nl said on Monday.
Eric Wiebes, Dutch minister of economic affairs spoke by telephone with Belgian energy minister Marie-Christine Marghem about the matter last week, Nu.nl said.
‘We have to find the best solution for the security of supply,’ a spokesman for Marghems explained. He said talks would be continued during the European energy council meeting set for 26 February.
The Netherlands delivers about 30% of the gas used in Belgium. The two countries agreed earlier that gas supplies from the Netherlands would begin to decline gradually in 2024 and stop completely in 2030.
Since more than 1.6 million households in central Belgium are adapted to run on low-calorie Dutch gas, the Flemish, Walloon and Brussels governments are gearing themselves up for change. Belgian gas network Fluxys said the conversion should be complete in 2029.
In the event of an emergency, a plant in the Belgian city of Turnhout is being adapted to convert high-calorie gas from other countries into gas suitable for these households, the spokesman said.