Fear of rising gas prices. Lecturer from Groningen: The Netherlands underestimates the risks

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Gas and electricity prices will rise again. Energy experts fear setbacks and higher energy prices for consumers and businesses, because the gas market is becoming tighter and the Netherlands’ supply is more uncertain.

According to experts, the Netherlands is once again underestimating the risk of severe winters, gas production is now failing because Russia does not provide it, and gas imports are minimal. The Groningen gas field will also be closed in October. Professor Martien Visser of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen warns that one incident has already driven up prices: the recent failure of a Norwegian gas field, for example, immediately sent up prices. The malaise comes as China recovers economically and buys more gas.

liquefied natural gas

Huge ships are moored on a train in the ports of Rotterdam and Eimshafen. Its spherical tanks contain cryogenic liquefied gas (LNG). After heating in terminal plants on the ground, LNG flows out at six hundredfold volume. Gasunie pumps it into pipelines to industry and households. Since Putin invaded Ukraine, the Netherlands prefers to keep Russian gas out the door, and the gas filling from Qatar and the US from these ships continues steadily day by day.

State aid

Last winter, Dutch households suffered from skyrocketing energy prices thanks to state aid due to the energy crisis. European Union countries agreed to fill gas storage facilities by more than 90 percent before next winter. The Netherlands will soon achieve this European goal in the middle of summer. “But that’s also because stocks were already well stocked because of the warm winter,” says energy specialist Hans van Cleef of Public Affairs Consultancy.

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The price of gas on the wholesale market has fallen steadily since the winter, with occasional outliers, from €67 per MWh to €25 now. The Netherlands also consumes a lot of gas in the summer: refineries are running at full capacity and on hot days, families collectively turn on air conditioners. Gas-fired power plants operate at maximum capacity to provide energy. However, “the demand for gas is relatively low,” according to Gasoni.


But energy experts are concerned, according to one of the tours. The recent failure of the Norwegian gas giant, for example, immediately drove up the price of gas. Major Norwegian gas facilities will be under maintenance from August. Energy company Vattenfall warns that “there is a possibility that prices will rise again”.

“The fact that there are still many obstacles to filling gas supplies is evidenced by the difference in price expectations,” says Martien Visser, lecturer in energy transition at the Hanze University of Applied Sciences in Groningen. Gas now costs 30 cents per cubic meter, which will be 50 cents in the gas market at the end of this year. The difference is usually 5 cents, often the difference is less. This large divergence indicates a very nervous market.”

“Before the panic starts, you need to get involved now with purchases for the coming years,” says energy specialist Hans van Cleef of the Public Affairs Adviser. “This is the lesson of recent years. The price of gas is not determined by supply and demand, but mainly by forecasts, like the course of a war.”

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In this case, it does not help that, in addition to buying long-term contracts for gas with Qatar, the United States and Australia, the Netherlands also “continues to gamble” mainly on purchases in the day market or the spot market, van Cleef says. “The price there fluctuates a lot.” Last winter was warm on average, and gas and electricity prices fell due to lower demand. Don’t discount the chance of another harsh winter, Visser says. And in front of the gas stations, the port is full of ships. But the question is whether this supply will continue if China demands more gas and the United States supplies less. Holland is actually walking on the edge of a cliff.”

We are fortunate that the Chinese economy has lagged so far. But demand is already recovering and the Netherlands will face competition from Chinese buyers this fall. This raises the price.” Last week, gas imports from Europe increased by 17% compared to the previous week. “But ships from the United States are already going to China and India,” Van Cleef sees as the price going up. “I’m definitely worried.”

Energy consumer

Energy-intensive China looked ahead on a larger scale. A lesson for the Netherlands, China signed a contract with Qatar in mid-June, providing the Chinese with four million tons of gas annually for twenty years. This way more contracts are closed. This is the gas the Netherlands can no longer have,” says energy expert Ronald De Zoet. “It’s better to buy too much than buy too little. You will get rid of this excess, perhaps with some loss. But it’s better than being short.”

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More than half of your gas bill is determined by energy taxes. “The Cabinet can also lower that price if it threatens to become too high for consumers,” Visser says.

The price cap introduced by the government, which limits the level of energy bills, will disappear at the end of this year. The purchase price of energy companies is already rising in the coming months. At the beginning of next year, almost double the current rate will be applied.


This increase will be largely passed on to consumers. Energy companies spread forward price risk by buying in chunks. But prices will be higher as winter approaches,” predicts Hans de Kok, price comparison manager PriceWise. There will be more one- to three-year fixed energy contracts, but prices for these can be relatively high. Old low prices for 2021 and so on His kiss will not return for the time being.”

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