Gas extraction from the Groningen field will decrease to a maximum of 19.4 billion cubic meters (bcm) by October 2019, the Dutch government approved Wednesday.
In 2017, the Groningen field was hit by a series of strong earthquakes triggered by natural gas drilling and not only left thousands of houses and buildings damaged, but also led to displacements, and protests against the decades-long gas extraction practice.
In March, the government decided to completely stop gas production and is taking measures to reduce gas production as quickly as possible. It announced that gas production would continue to fall further until production is brought to a complete halt in 2030.
"The new approval decision for the gas year 2018/2019 therefore follows the development plan of the government for gas production," according to a statement on the government’s website.
"By October 2022, but possibly a year earlier, gas production is expected to fall below the level of 12 billion cubic meters," the statement read.
"Depending on the effect of the measures, a drop of 7.5 billion bcm is expected from October 2022 and possibly considerably less. In the following years, the gas production will be completely halted," it added.
The decision on the draft plan to cut production – released in August - was announced in a letter sent by Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy Eric Wiebes to the House of Representatives, according to the statement.
According to the announcement, what is new with this consent is that the Dutch petroleum company NAM is ordered not to extract more than what is necessary for security of supply.
"Gas safety is paramount in the reduction of gas production. The security of supply is also taken into account in the assent decision," it said.
According to the company's website, NAM supplies 75 percent of the natural gas required by Dutch households and businesses, while gas accounts for 45 percent of all the energy that is used in the Netherlands.
By Hale Turkes