Groningen gas and High-Calorific gas

Gas from the Groningen gas field contains relatively high levels of nitrogen compared to gas from other fields. This results in Groningen gas having a lower calorific value.

When the Groningen gas field was discovered, all gas appliances in the Netherlands were made compatible for this type of gas. Later, smaller natural gas fields were discovered containing gas with a higher calorific value – high-calorific gas. Nitrogen is added at special-purpose processing facilities in order to make high-calorific gas suitable for appliances designed for use with Groningen gas.

Production from the Groningen gas field will gradually decline over the years to come, whereas the supply of high-calorific gas will increase. The question then arises as to whether nitrogen still needs to be added or whether it is wiser to modify gas appliances for use with higher-calorific gas. The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Gas Transport Services (GTS), Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and GasTerra commissioned the Energy Delta Gas Research (EDGaR) consortium in to investigate how this issue can be tackled most effectively. Studies have revealed that it will not be necessary to modify gas appliances in the Netherlands for use with high-calorific gas until 2030. However, it would be sensible to start introducing new gas appliances that are also compatible for use with high-calorific gas. EDGaR also concluded that it would be sensible to ask neighbouring countries to start replacing Groningen gas with high-calorific gas as of 2020. The advantage in neighbouring countries is that appliances are already largely compatible for use with high-calorific gas and experience has already been gained on a small scale converting appliances for use with high-calorific gas.