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Omtzigt: The Netherlands lacks a gas strategy, but supplies abroad

Omtzigt: The Netherlands lacks a gas strategy, but supplies abroad

PolicySep 7 ’22 18:50author: Mark Van Harriveld

Not only does The Hague lack a plan to properly tackle the gas crisis, while gas prices are rising, the Netherlands appears to have concluded long-term secret contracts with third parties for the supply of natural gas. This is clear from the answers to the parliamentary questions that the independent MP Ometzigt put to the Council of Ministers. We have sold part of our energy abroad (…). This is very unwise.

Omtzigt tried to figure out what the Dutch strategy for gas supply security and affordability was, but “I couldn’t find it”. The Netherlands pumps out 20 billion cubic meters of gas every year, and it turns out that 17.5 billion cubic meters have already been sold under long-term contracts. (ANP / Peter Hills)

no strategy

Omtzigt tried to figure out what the Dutch strategy for gas supply security and affordability was, but “I couldn’t find it”. The Netherlands pumps out 20 billion cubic meters of gas every year, and it turns out that 17.5 billion cubic meters have already been sold under long-term contracts. We use about 40 billion cubic meters. So we could be half self-sufficient, and we sold that overseas. This is very unwise.

market efficiency?

In his words, what the MP provided were the answers to his questions about affordability and security of supply. All scenarios are based on an efficient gas market. “This market is inefficient, because you have quite a few suppliers: Russia, Norway and Algeria. If one of these suppliers disappears, and in this case it is Russia, then you simply do not have enough supply. Then you cannot say that you can always assume that you can buy it on the market Because there is a geopolitical risk that Russia will turn off the gas tap. They have already done that with Ukraine about 6 or 7 years ago. They have done it regularly with other countries.

secret contracts

What also surprises Omtzigt is that as a Member of Parliament he was not allowed access to the contracts concluded: “They are very secretive, and I am not allowed to see them as a Member of Parliament.” So Omtzigt says he doesn’t know how much was sold and to whom, but he also doesn’t know that these multi-year contracts were not extended beyond 2012, the year the first major earthquake occurred at Huizinge in Groningen. .

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different world

According to Omtzigt, until 2012, we were in a different world, a world in which gas reserves were so large that they could be sold to neighboring countries at will. “But after 2012, I wonder how many of these contracts were extended, which could have been canceled.” What also bothers Omtzigt is the ease with which long-term visions of “degassing” speak. The MP points out that we will still need gas for the next 30 years. We can’t live without it tomorrow. And for the gas you need, there should be a plan that you can have as well. Gas is an essential raw material for the Dutch economy.

Own gas first

Omtzigt believes that “minerals mined in the Netherlands are also available for Dutch emergency use.” If necessary, by breaking contracts. According to the MP, GasTerra’s annual report mentions at least 4 arbitration proceedings. “I just don’t know with whom, but they are already trying to break it. It’s about tens of billions.

Omtzigt not only wants to use Dutch gas for private use, but also wants to develop a strategy to secure supplies of electricity, gas and food. “None of the three worked.”

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