Saturday 04 December 2021

Groningen gas fields won’t be re-opened because of price rises: ministers

A gas drilling site. Photo: Graham Dockery

The Netherlands will not increase natural gas production from the Groningen fields to head off the impact of soaring gas prices, home affairs minister Kajsa Ollongren and economic affairs minister Stef Blok said on Friday.

The gas taps will only be turned on again if there are very cold winters, not for price rises, the ministers said.

Gas prices have been rising steadily for weeks and on Thursday finance minister Wopke Hoekstra said that the government was looking into ways of minimizing the impact of the increase on consumers.

Households with a variable energy contract are already being hard hit by the changes, with bills going up by at least €50 a month. Most bills will not change until January next year, when new contracts come into force.

‘There is no reason to worry,’ Blok said, adding that the storage of natural gas used by households is up to scratch. Gas for industry is in shorter supply, he said.

Gas production from the Groningen fields is currently being wound down and is due to halt altogether in the coming year because of the problems caused by earthquakes. Some locations will remain on standby and will be reopened if needed because of the weather conditions.

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