Dutch parliament calls on government to cut Groningen gas output

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The Dutch parliament on Tuesday approved a motion calling on the government to substantially lower gas production from the country's Groningen gas field for safety reasons.

The Dutch government has curtailed production from the field, Europe's largest, twice this year after it was censured by public safety authorities for not taking the threat of production-linked earthquakes seriously enough. The government has not yet responded to the parliament's action.

The motion was submitted by opposition parties, but endorsed by the Labour party, the junior partner in Prime Minister Mark Rutte's centrist coalition
British gas prices for delivery in 2016 rose after the vote, due to expectations of lower Dutch imports next year.

The Q1 2016 contract rose 3.1 percent from Monday's close to 43.75 pence per therm, while the Summer 16 contract rose 3.3 percent to 39.65 pence per therm.

The motion approved calls on the government to make further cuts to bring 2016 gas production below the level of 33 billion cubic metres it had planned for in last month's budget.

"Given that residents of Groningen and Drenthe have once again been shocked by earthquakes caused by gas production ... parliament calls on the government to lower 2016 production at Groningen field substantially," it said. It also said that any loss of government revenue should not be covered by spending cuts.

Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp is not due to decide until December on 2016 production levels. Kamp has vowed to cut production as much as possible, while still guaranteeing that homes in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium that have long-term contracts and rely on Dutch gas are supplied during the winter. (Reporting by Toby Sterling; Additional reporting by Thomas Escritt. Editing by Jane Merriman)



Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/10/06/netherlands-groningen-gas-idUS...