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The termination of Groningen gas production--background and next steps


The supergiant Groningen field (also known as the Slochteren field) was found in 1959 by the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), a 50/50 partnership between Shell and Esso. That the Slochteren-1 well found gas rather than oil was initially a disappointment since, at the time, the Dutch domestic gas market was nearly saturated with so-called town gas, which, before the development of natural gas, was manufactured from coal and used for fuel and lighting. The Dutch state directly controlled the gas distribution network in 8 of the 11 Dutch provinces through the staatsgasbedrijf (state gas company) and also effectively controlled the gas distribution network in the province of South Limburg through its ownership of the staatsmijnen (state mines or state collieries).

The earliest publicly announced reserve estimate of this gas discovery was approximately 60 billion cubic meters (bcm), but this soon proved to be a conservative figure. The Nota de Pous (a policy document referring to then-minister of economic affairs Jan-Willem de Pous) mentioned proven reserves of 150 bcm with a "possible reserves" figure of 400 bcm. Current estimates of GIIP (gas initially in place) are near 2,900 bcm, of which about 2,070 bcm had been produced by 2017.

With the gas fields in Groningen shut down due to significant earth tremor damage to homes and business, with Shell leaving Holland, a long history of fossil fuel exploitation will end.

by Oui on Mon Nov 15th, 2021 at 08:48:37 AM EST
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