Netherlands concerned about effects of high German gas demand on domestic reserves
Dutch economic affairs minister, Stef Blok, has expressed concern about Germany’s large appetite for natural gas sourced from the Netherlands’ northern Groningen province, where its continued exploitation has recently resulted in hundreds of small earthquakes, Claus Hecking reports for Der Spiegel. The Dutch government had planned to stop gas production at the Groningen field due to the continued quakes, but the site is now set to about twice as much as expected in the 2021/22 financial year due in part to high demand from Germany gas. Blok has nevertheless written a letter to his German counterpart, climate and economy minister Robert Habeck, complaining about the significantly higher demand registered by German customers for low-calorie gas from its neighbour country. In a statement to the House of Representatives in the Hague, Blok explained that he told Habeck he was “seriously worried about this development,” adding that he asked his German counterpart to check what measures Germany can take to limit its gas consumption “to a minimum." Due to the ongoing energy price crisis in Europe, Germany's utilities will likely have to order 1.1 billion cubic metres more of gas from the Netherlands this year than originally planned, according to the article
Natural gas accounted for 15.3 percent of Germany’s power production last year, an increase of 4 percent over 2020. The government regards gas as a necessary bridge technology towards decarbonisation and the European Commission plans to classify it as a sustainable investment – a move that has nevertheless split Germany’s new government coalition. While finance minister Christian Lindner of the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP) has welcomed the proposal to include gas as a transitional fuel towards climate neutrality, Green Party ministers have criticised the decision as “greenwashing”. The opposition Left Party, meanwhile, is pushing for the rapid certification of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in order to increase gas imports from Russia.