Dutch gas storages were fuller than ever last summer. On average it is about 90 percent full. This ensures that you don’t have to worry about whether there will be enough gas available this winter. But next winter?
“It’s going to be exciting,” admits Lucia van Jeunesse, an energy expert at The Hague Center for Strategic Studies. “In 2022, we were able to fill our gas storages, our reserves, because there was still a lot of Russian gas left.”
But this share of Russian gas is rapidly declining. According to Gasunie’s calculations, between 2019 and 2021, an average of 35 percent of all the gas Europe buys came from Russia. When the Netherlands began filling storage facilities in April, that proportion was only 28 percent, and that proportion has now fallen to just 5 to 8 percent. No one dares to predict whether this will be achieved in 2023.
So Europe and the Netherlands must look hard for alternatives. Van Geuns: “Most of it actually comes from liquefied natural gas, which is very liquefied gas. This liquefied gas is also needed in other parts of the world. This gas is available, but maybe not enough. And there is a problem in the winter of 2023.”
In addition, China, which was still largely closed last year, and therefore there was gas left, is itself phasing out corona measures, which means that less gas will be available to other countries, as Van Geuns sees.
The government shares the concerns. Last summer, for example, a new floating LNG terminal was built in record time in Imshaven. This will allow the Netherlands to import more LNG. It is also being investigated whether one or two additional buildings can be built in Terneuzen, as Minister Jetin recently wrote to the Sejm.
In addition, Jetten wants to make sure that its gas stores are full again next winter. He has already announced a subsidy plan to ensure state-owned EBN takes over.
Gas already in storage facilities should also be used as little as possible. Instead, Jetten wants EBN to buy the gas that is now being exported to Europe for resale.
Long term contracts
But it remains to be seen if that will be enough. That’s why MPs want more action, like VVD member Silvio Erkins: “The most important thing is that we make long-term contracts to bring natural gas here,” he said.
“I would say myself, look at Norway, they have offered it. If we, like the Netherlands, together with Germany, for example, are willing to do a contract with them for 10 or 15 years, they will also be willing to lower these prices further.” compared to what we’re paying now.”
But this is not the only solution. Because although the Netherlands actually consumed 25 percent less gas last year than in previous years, it is likely that more savings will be needed.
“The less gas is consumed now, the less volume will have to be bought next summer to refill the storages,” says Lucia van Geuns.
Rep. Susan Krueger of GroenLinks believes Jetten is ignoring easy procedures. “In Germany, it is simply said: After 10pm the advertisement is lit, stoves in public buildings at 19 degrees and shop doors kept closed. Very simple and practical measures. For me, the minister is really going to work with that.”
Saving is also very important, because next winter prices will still be high.
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