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Shell: Gas field in Groningen must be completely closed this year, in light of earthquakes

NL TIMES

Shell: Gas field in Groningen must be completely closed this year, in light of earthquakes

SUNDAY, 26 MARCH 2023 

The gas field in Groningen must be completely closed this year, said the CEO of Shell Netherlands, Marjan van Loon. Currently, the gas field is still supplying minimal amounts of gas to keep the wells usable, but she doesn’t think that’s necessary. “It can and must be done, so the field has to be closed,” Van Loon said on the TV program WNL Op Zondag.

At the end of January, Gasunie, which is responsible for managing gas pipelines and storage, was still advising the Cabinet to keep the Groningen field on alert this year and not to close it permanently. That’s because it remains uncertain whether the Netherlands will be able to get enough gas next winter because of the war between Ukraine and Russia. Therefore, it is better to keep the option of Groningen gas in reserve, Gasunie reasoned.

“In an energy crisis, it may be unpleasant to shut something down, but the pilot light is still considerable, and then there are always earthquakes,” Van Loon claimed. According to her, many other stakeholders in the Groningen gas field also believe it is responsible to turn off the gas tap permanently.

Also, the Tweede Kamer has already asked State Secretary Hans Vijlbrief (Mining) to ignore Gasunie’s advice. Vijlbrief is expected to take until June to decide on this.

“It has brought nothing but burdens to the people of Groningen, and that is where we all went wrong. And that includes Shell,” Van Loon explained on the TV program on Sunday.

Shell, as one of NAM’s shareholders, was responsible for years for gas production in Groningen, which later turned out to have caused earthquakes. The company now also pays for damage repairs and the reinforcement of houses in the earthquake zone. “Damage repair and reinforcement of houses must be accelerated, and we now know there is more to do. It is complex,” the CEO of Shell Netherlands said.

She also mentioned that in addition to the closure of the gas field, damage and reinforcement tasks must also be accelerated and more attention must be paid to the economic development of Groningen.

“The Cabinet needs to look at how this can be done differently, and we’ve said we’re willing to look at how we can make that happen, ” the CEO of Shell Netherlands said.

Reporting by ANP and NL Times

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