By REUTERS: PUBLISHED: 23 September 2016
AMSTERDAM, Sept 23 (Reuters) – Gas extraction from the northern Groningen gas field will be held at 24 billion cubic metres per year for the coming five years, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday.
The decision made on Friday by Rutte’s government cemented a preliminary plan to cut output to minimise the risk of earthquakes resulting from production at Groningen, which once supplied 10 percent of the gas used in the European Union.
Although output has been capped until 2021, the government said it would review production on an annual basis.
“Only during cold winters and only if strictly necessary, could additional output be considered,” the government said in a statement. “During an annual evaluation, new facts or developments will be considered that could result in changing the current decree.”
Output from Groningen has halved over the past two years after the country’s Safety Board said the government was failing to protect citizens from earthquakes triggered by gas exploitation.
The Groningen gas field is operated by NAM, a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp.
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; editing by David Clarke)