The nine largest Dutch buyers will have to stop using low calorific gas from October 2020 onwards. This was proposed in a bill to the House of Representatives a while ago. Among the buyers, there is one large greenhouse horticulture company.
The new deadline was announced back in September. Back then, among others, a grower from the Dutch region of Groningen shrugged off the news, which according to Rob van der Valk of Greenhouse Horticulture Netherlands wouldn’t have much of an effect on greenhouse horticulture. The grower from Groningen said: “From a business point of view, not much will change. The past couple of years, we bought gas and as long as there are no good and affordable alternatives we will keep doing this.”
In order to remain using gas similar to the current low calorific gas in Groningen, a simple ‘trick’ is available, Jelle Blom of Endesa said back then. “The high calorific gas can be diluted with nitrogen to create a substance similar to the current gas that is being gained in Groningen.”
Reducing the low calorific gas
The nine buyers together make up about half the use of low calorific gas in the industry in the Netherlands. With the proposal, the cabinet wants to bring the gas extraction in Groningen down to zero as fast as possible, with as its final goal to shut down the gas field in Groningen for good. This will also send the right message to neighboring countries where a quick conversion has been requested.
The proposal includes a ban on the use of low calorific gas for companies that use over 100 million Nm3 of low calorific gas a year starting October 2022. In reality, this means the nine largest users of low calorific gas.
For the other companies, there will be a law that prohibits the use of more than 100 million Nm3 of low calorific gas per year starting October 2022.
Network operator GTS will be given the legal task of requesting their nine largest buyers to switch to high calorific gas. The buyers can also request GTS to stop supplying them completely.
The nine buyers that now need to get rid of the low calorific gas quickly are able to claim compensation under certain conditions.
The conversion will lead to a reduced demand for low calorific gas in the Netherlands, which in turn leads to less low calorific gas being extracted, lowering the need for the gas field in Groningen to remain its capacity. Furthermore, according to the cabinet, the conversion will contribute to the stability and sturdiness of the gas system due to the fact that it will become less dependent on nitrogen admixture and the use of storage facilities.
It is expected that, in a year with average weather conditions, the gas extracted from the gas fields in Groningen will be zero from mid-2022 onward.