Despite global energy concerns fueled by Russia’s war in Ukraine, the Netherlands announced Friday that it would halt production at Europe’s largest gas field on October 1 due to years of earthquakes.
Wells at the enormous Groningen field in the northern Netherlands will remain open for one more year in the event of a cold winter, but will subsequently be shut down permanently, according to the government.
Residents living near the massive site, which opened in 1965, have claimed for more than two decades that they have been terrorized by earthquakes directly related to drilling operations.
“We are really turning off the tap,” said Hans Vijlbrief, the Dutch minister for extractive industries. The decision as an “important moment after decades of gas extraction,” he added.
“The problems of Groningen residents have not yet been solved and unfortunately the earthquakes will continue for years to come, but the source of all misery will be closed from October.”
The Netherlands said five years ago that it will close the facility by 2030 owing to increasingly violent earthquakes that damaged homes and traumatized inhabitants.
Despite the fact that gas output from the field has nearly ceased in recent years, the Dutch government maintained the site operating owing to global energy uncertainties caused mostly by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
However, at a meeting on Friday, Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s cabinet decided to halt all manufacturing by October 1.