(Adds details, background)
AMSTERDAM, Sept 13 Demand for gas from Groningen
will "fall sharply from 2020" as production at the northern
Dutch field is reduced, Economy Minister Henk Kamp said in a
letter to parliament released on Tuesday.
The Netherlands has been forced to scale back production by
roughly half at Groningen, which once met 10 percent of European
Union gas requirements, to 24 billion cubic meters per year due
to damage from earthquakes.
Citing a June study by Gasunie, Kamp said a 480 million
euros gas conversion facility in Zuidbroek was no longer needed
due to falling exports.
The Groningen gas field is operated by NAM, a joint venture
between Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil Corp.
Dutch exports of gas have declined already and European
countries, notably Germany, had said they would reduce Dutch
imports further and seek other sources. The Netherlands had been
studying the option of converting gas to meet export
"The market conversion abroad has started sooner than we
anticipated," Kamp wrote. "Germany, France and Belgium will
start the switch from low to high-caloric gas in 2020 instead of
That will lead to a reduction in demand for Groningen gas
from 2020, he said.
(Reporting by Anthony Deutsch, editing by Louise Heavens and