Post-Groningen earthquake: The gas industry in the Netherlands

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Paul van der Laan, Manager Asset Exploitation & Business Development , Gasunie
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Gastech News spoke with Paul van der Laan, Manager Asset Exploitation & Business Development at Gasunie about his views on Netherland’s gas industry and the way forward for further developments.

Gastech News: Could you give us an update on the Netherlands’ gas industry at the moment, and how you see it developing?

Paul van der Laan: In general, since the discovery of the Groningen field gas became a dominant fuel in the Netherlands. The Netherlands still has huge reserves of natural gas, bringing benefits for consumers and the state coffers. However, the earthquakes in the Groningen region induced by production activity have reduced local support for production. This has resulted in lower production levels from the Groningen field. Combined with the geopolitical tensions this sharpened the discussions about the position of gas in the mix. Our proposition is no longer self-evident. In response we adopted a more stakeholder-oriented approach, not taking ourselves as the centre of the energy system, but as an interactive part of it. We try to demonstrate how and where gas can best contribute given the long-term energy and climate objectives. Currently, the government is working on its long-term energy strategy. I think we have succeeded to qualify ourselves as credible and constructive dialogue partner. We believe that the future energy system should be an intelligently interacting combination of energy modalities, making use of existing infrastructure which can accelerate the energy transition. Gas can facilitate the use of renewables as a source of flexibility, filling the renewable production gap or supplying sectors for which electrification is not an option.

Gastech News: What are you most looking forward to about the EAGC conference in The Hague in November 2016?

Paul van der Laan: I think it’s about the exchange of views between key players. I think the networking aspect of the conference is very important – especially now, with an industry that has to proof and reinvent its market proposition more than ever. My message would be to not miss the opportunity to meet your colleagues.

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Interested in meeting senior executives and management teams from the world’s largest gas and energy companies operating in Europe? Join Paul van der Laan at the European Autumn Gas Conference in The Hague, 14-16 November 2016.

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Photo Courtesy of Gasunie.