EBN important for security of the gas supply in the first half of 2022
‘Continue to focus on saving, increasing sustainability and extracting gas from our own small fields’
After February 24, 2022, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Europe took the step to become independent from Russian natural gas as soon as possible. For the Netherlands, this means focusing even more clearly on three tracks: saving energy where possible, accelerating the share of sustainable energy and extracting natural gas from its own (offshore) fields where this is possible. Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN) fulfilled its public role in the energy transition in the first half of 2022, both in the field of accelerating sustainability and in the field of security of the gas supply.
Security of the gas supply
In April, EBN was appointed by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK) to have the Bergermeer gas storage facility (near Alkmaar) filled with natural gas, which would increase the filling level above the 68% requested by the European Commission. The filling of storage facilities is necessary to be able to meet the so-called peak demand in cold winters. The requested filling level of 68% has now been achieved at the beginning of September and EBN is making every effort to fill the storage to a higher level (90%) at the request of the minister. Bergermeer gas storage is currently more than 80% full. In addition, EBN provides 40% of the financial resources required for GasTerra to fill the other storage facilities (UGS Norg, UGS Grijpskerk and PGI Alkmaar).
Natural gas production in the Netherlands amounted to 4.7 billion cubic meters (bcm) in the first half of the year. In 2021 that was still 5.9 bcm. This production comes from the Groningen field (2.4 bcm) and the so-called small fields (2.3 bcm) that are spread across the Netherlands and the North Sea. Reduction of the production level is caused on the one hand by the phasing out of the Groningen field and the natural decline of small fields.
Reuse and sustainability
EBN once again achieved results in the energy transition. For example, further concrete steps were taken with CO2 storage with the Porthos and Aramis projects, the storage of CO2 in empty gas fields under the North Sea. CO2 storage is seen as indispensable to achieve the climate targets. Empty gas fields can also serve as storage for hydrogen. This conclusion is the result of a study that EBN delivered before the summer. Results were also achieved about geothermal energy. On the one hand, with the SCAN project, in which the Dutch subsurface is being mapped to gain insight into the potential of geothermal energy. In the spring of 2022, a new milestone was reached: approximately 1800 kilometers of seismicity. Preparations are also well advanced for the so-called research drilling for geothermal energy to the east of Utrecht. On the other hand, EBN’s role in concrete geothermal energy projects is increasingly taking shape. Projects in Amersfoort, The Hague (Haagsche Geothermal), Delft and Leeuwarden are really getting off the ground with which geothermal energy will play its role in the heat transition.
Dialogue based on facts and figures
EBN aims to establish a connection with its stakeholders through an informed dialogue. The annual infographic on the energy system is a good example of this. This was presented during the annual Energy Breakfast, which was attended by a large number of guests from the energy world. EBN also facilitates the discussion about the energy transition in other ways. In the first half of 2022, for example, by organizing the Week of Underground Energy Storage, a discussion day on the usefulness and necessity of CO2 storage (Carbon Storage Dialogues) and the periodic talk show Transition Talks about the progress of the transition.
High revenues for the benefit of the Dutch State
In the first half of 2022, EBN realized a turnover of EUR 4.7 billion (2021: EUR 1.0 billion). The net result amounted to EUR 3.1 billion (2021: EUR 272 million). As a public company, EBN transfers the proceeds from gas extraction to the Dutch state and thus to the taxpayer. The high turnover is determined by the very high gas price.
Jan Willem van Hoogstraten, CEO of EBN: “The war in Ukraine has put everything in a different light during the first half of the year. The impact on society is enormous, and so is the impact on our activities. We have had to deal with an extremely high gas price. It should be clear that the urgency to turn all the buttons at the same time (saving, sustainability and where possible gas extraction from our small fields) is extremely important.”
Summary of unaudited results – first half of 2022. (Click on the picture to enlarge.)