After a temporary 2% increase of EU gas production in the first quarter of 2015, output returned to its downward trend: it decreased by 14% in both the second and the third quarters, and by 15% in the last quarter, year-on-year.
In the third quarter, production amounted to 22 bcm, the lowest quarterly level in the last 8 years. While output increased in Denmark (29%) and the UK (7%), this was more than offset by the massive decrease in the Netherlands (-45%). In the last quarter, EU gas production increased to 31 bcm but Dutch output continued to be weak: it decreased by 34% year-on-year which was only partly offset by the increase in the UK (14%), according to European Commission in his quarterly report volume 9.
Is this a new strategy of Europe or is it an effect of Member States policies?
In 2016 the Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp had pledged to keep Groningen production (Nederland) to below 30 billion cubic meters to minimize the risk of quakes.
The volume of gas produced in the Netherlands’ gas fields fell by over 25% last year, as the government reduced the amount extracted from under Groningen province because of the earthquake risk. Total production was just over 51 billion cubic meters, of which 29 billion cubic meters came from the Northern Province.
Groningen gas has supplied almost 10 % of European Union demand, and announcements on production cuts, have led to spikes in gas prices.
Considering this situation and others similar in EU, a new strategy is mandatory for Europe to exploit its own resources more efficient, responsible, affordable, having well implemented regulations.