The Netherlands and Europe did not experience any physical gas shortages last winter, and the Netherlands is better prepared for the coming winter than last year. There is an increased import capacity for liquefied gas (LNG) in the Netherlands and neighboring countries, households and businesses use less gas due to high prices and there is more gas in storage than last year. Despite the fact that Russia is now supplying less gas to Europe, shortages on the European gas market and risks have not disappeared, which is why the government is taking measures again and emphasizing the need to save energy. Minister Jetten and State Secretary Vijlbrief will inform the House of Representatives about this in an update on the security of gas supply in the Netherlands.
Dutch households, companies and other organizations consumed approximately 30% less gas than the average of the past five years, resulting in a decrease in average annual consumption from 41 billion cubic meters to 31 billion cubic meters. High energy prices and a mild winter contributed to this. The industry also consumed considerably less gas due to high prices and efficiency measures. The government is once again launching the energy-saving campaign ‘Turn the switch’ with practical tips for businesses and households.
Fill gas storage
With an average of 58.1%, the gas storage facilities in the Netherlands are better filled than last year (21.3% on 1 April). The cabinet wants them to be at least 90% full by spring. A subsidy scheme has been announced to encourage companies to fill the largest freely accessible gas storage facility in Western Europe, the Bergermeer gas storage facility. In addition, state-owned company EBN will partially fill the storage if companies do not do so. The Grijpskerk and Alkmaar gas storage facilities are being filled to 100%, and Gas Storage Norg is currently more than 80% full. Norg’s filling level for the winter depends on market conditions and also on possible future agreements on additional filling.
The import of LNG is crucial for replacing Russian gas. The Dutch LNG import capacity doubled last year to 24 billion cubic meters per year. A new floating terminal in Eemshaven (+8 billion m3) and an extension of the existing terminal in Rotterdam (+4 billion m3) have been constructed for this purpose. These terminals will be gradually expanded to a total capacity of 30 billion m3 in 2026. Studies into further expansions of the import capacity in the Netherlands are ongoing.
Within the EU, the Netherlands is striving for a joint purchase of gas. The European Commission is developing a purchasing platform for this purpose, so that companies from various EU countries can jointly purchase gas. The aim is to realize more favorable conditions for gas purchasing. The first procurement rounds are expected to start in May.