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Dutch watchdog says gas production at Groningen remains unsafe


Dutch watchdog says gas production at Groningen remains unsafe

AMSTERDAM, March 8 (Reuters) – A Dutch watchdog said on Tuesday that gas production from Groningen field remained a safety threat, as Europe races to find other sources of the fuel to wean itself off Russian supplies in the wake of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Dutch government has been winding down Groningen for years because production triggers earthquakes in the area and it plans to cease output entirely by October. But the government has not ruled out a change course in an emergency.

“Groningen will only be as safe as the rest of the Netherlands once the gas production has been stopped and the houses that need it have been reinforced,” said Theodor Kockelkoren, inspector general of the regulator, the State Supervisor of Mines (SSM).

Groningen will produce 7.6 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas in the year that runs to October 2022.

Earthquakes have damaged buildings in the region and the government began swiftly reducing output in 2015 after a scathing report on the threat posed by production to public health by the country’s Safety Board.

Reporting by Toby Sterling; Editing by Edmund Blair
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