The Netherlands, Europe’s second-largest gas exporter, may become an importer by 2025 as output falls from its Groningen province and progress in unconventional sources stalls, the International Energy Agency said.
“It is time to re-assess its energy security and to look at different cost-effective pathways to guide the transition,” Maria van der Hoeven, executive director of the Paris-based adviser to 28 nations, said in the agency’s review of Dutch energy policy. “Indigenous production levels from the Groningen and smaller fields are falling and the decision making on the possibility to explore new unconventional resources, including shale gas, is slower than expected.”
Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government was forced to cut gas output from the Slochteren field in Groningen by 21 percent this year to 42.5 billion cubic meters in 2014 and 2015 after earthquakes linked to extraction led to a public backlash. A new production plan for the field, Europe’s largest, will be presented by July 1, 2016.
The Netherlands produces about 80 billion cubic meters of gas a year, about the same as neighboring Germany consumes. The Slochteren field’s remaining resources are estimated at 740 billion cubic meters while total estimated reserves are 1.23 trillion cubic meters, the IEA said in its report. There are about 235 small fields in production.
The Netherlands is one of the most fossil-fuel-intensive economies in the IEA and will have considerable challenges in its transition toward secure, sustainable, competitive and affordable energy, according to the report, which called on the country to step up its efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
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