February 19, 2018 / 10:54 AM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-No new tremor-tackling steps needed at Dutch gas field, operator says

(Adds more detail)

AMSTERDAM, Feb 19 (Reuters) - The operator of the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands sees no need for further measures aimed at reducing the risk of tremors, it said on Monday, following a series of small quakes.

Earlier this month, the Dutch government ordered production at the field to be cut by 44 percent as quickly as possible, and the immediate shutdown of five production points.

That was in response to a magnitude 3.4 tremor, the largest in years, that hit the Groningen region in January.

But both the operator, NAM, and gas sector regulator SodM warned further quakes, caused by decades of gas extraction, couldn’t be ruled out completely.

This was underlined by three tremors with magnitudes of 1.7 to 2.2 between Feb. 8 and Feb. 11, which prompted SodM to demand a new review on production levels.

In its report, NAM said the latest tremors did not merit additional measures, as the closing of the production points in the Loppersum cluster and the overall output reduction were expected to dampen earthquake risks within six months.

NAM expects the latest measures to reduce production by 0.5 to 2 billion cubic metres (bcm) in the year ending October 2018, compared with the original target for that year of 21.6 bcm.

The government will present by the end of March a full overview of possible measures to cut production towards its ultimate goal of 12 bcm, and will also decide on the production cap for the year through October 2019. (Reporting by Bart Meijer; Editing by Louise Heavens and Mark Potter)

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