Why Europe Can't Use Its Largest Gas Field To Dodge Putin's Supply Cuts

Europe has a big landmass with enough untapped capacity to replenish the natural gas it is currently running out of due to the crisis brought on by Vladimir Putin's war in Ukraine but is unable to do so because its hands are tied.

What Happened: The sprawling Groningen field, beneath the windmill-dotted marshlands of the Netherlands, is Europe’s largest natural gas reserve. It holds enough fuel to replace what Germany once imported from Russia, reported Bloomberg.

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However, instead of supporting Europe, perhaps in its most brutal winter, the field is in the process of shutting down because of tremors. The report noted that drilling has caused many earthquakes in the area, and if the Dutch officials decide to continue with it, they are prone to backlash from residents for breaking promises.

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Groningen field has been the mainstay of Europe's gas supplies since the 1960s. And even half-century later, there's still about 450 billion cubic meters of extractable gas in reserve — worth around $1 trillion, said the report.

According to Shell Plc RYDAF, one of the two major partners involved in operating the field, there's more capacity to extract around 50 billion cubic meters per year than is currently flowing.

Dutch mining minister Hans Vijlbrief noted that it would be dangerous to keep producing, but the suffering elsewhere in Europe can't be ignored either. A lack of gas "could force us to make that decision," he said, adding that if hospitals, schools, and homes can't be adequately heated, it could lead to a safety issue.

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Posted In: GovernmentNewsRegulationsPoliticsGlobalEurasiaGroningen gas fieldRussia-Ukraine WarVladimir Putin
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