Discovery and customers
Since its discovery in 1959, the Groningen field, at that time the largest gas field in the world, has produced over 2000 billion m3 of natural gas. More than 90% of Dutch homes uses natural gas for heating. GasTerra is the exclusive purchaser of gas from the Groningen field. We sell this gas on the domestic market to wholesalers and supply it under long-term contracts to German, Belgian and French energy companies.
Types of gas
GasTerra also trades in large volumes of high-calorific gas in addition to low-calorific Groningen gas. s. This gas comes mainly from smaller Dutch gas fields in the North Sea and on land and from Russian and Norwegian imports. This high-calorific gas is used by industry in the Netherlands and abroad.
Low-calorific gas can also be produced by means of quality conversion (adding nitrogen into the mixture in special plants). Producers of small field gas can sell it themselves, but they don’t have to; GasTerra is legally obliged to buy this gas at the going market price, if required.
During a period that has seen structural and far-reaching changes including market liberalisation, gas has maintained its leading role in the energy supply. However, this can no longer be taken for granted; the position and image of gas are under pressure. Our product’s positive features, such as comfort, flexibility and versatility are at risk of receding into the background.
Major reasons for this include the earthquakes in our region, reinforcing, for many, the feeling that gas is, at best, a necessary evil and increased global awareness that the share of fossil fuels in the energy mix must fall sharply over the coming decades to prevent the average temperature rising by more than one-and-a-half to two degrees due to human activity. The Paris Agreement (2015), which is supported by most countries, has formally endorsed this aim and contains agreements for substantially reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Part of the solution
Natural gas can help to reduce CO2 emissions by replacing more polluting fuels such as oil and, especially, coal, where it is possible and meaningful to do so. Nevertheless, an increasingly large group sees our product as primarily part of the problem rather than part of the solution. But the reality is that natural gas is both. Throughout the world, in Europe and in the Netherlands, gas is indispensable and will remain so for the next few decades, both as regards security of supply and a responsible climate policy.
Gas by Design
On the latter point: GasTerra has, together with sister companies within the Royal Dutch Gas Association (KVGN), embraced the “Gas by Design” concept. This means that, in the transition towards a climate-neutral energy supply, we will only use natural gas where more sustainable alternatives are at present less attractive. In addition, we will work on improving the sustainability of gas itself by promoting the production of green gas and by investigating and testing the potential for sustainable hydrogen. In other words, gas is becoming customised.