NAM to be broken up and sold off, as Dutch gas production ends


The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) set up in 1947 by Shell and Esso, is being dismantled, ending 75 years of Dutch gas extraction

The company, which is now 50% owned by Shell and 50% by ExxonMobil, is being chopped into four separate limited companies which will be sold off, including all its Dutch oil and gas interests, apart from the Groningen field which is being wound down.

The Groningen field, which has generated hundreds of billions of euros for the treasury, will close next year and the other fields, on both land and sea, are being sold off – probably to foreign investors.

‘The room to invest in small fields is very limited,’ chief executive Johan Atema said in a statement. ‘We think, therefore, that it will be better if the small fields are taken over by a group with more investment options.’

NAM posted a loss of €315m last year, due to low gas prices, less production and extra provisions to pay for the damage caused by the Groningen earthquakes.

The company hopes to complete the restructuring by next year and will then look for buyers. The company has more than 100 gas field concessions on land in the Netherlands and some 40 at sea.

‘I want to stress that Shell remains committed to the people in Groningen and all the agreements made with the Dutch authorities,’ Shell Nederland president Marjan van Loon told the Financieele Dagblad.

However, the FD points out, NAM itself has only paid 60% of the bills it has received for the earthquake damage because it disagrees with the calculations. This means, the paper says, it is likely that there will be a legal fight between NAM and the state about the costs.

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