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Last Updated: August 2016

Overview


Map of Netherlands
Map of Netherlands
  • Although not a significant producer of liquid fuels, the Netherlands plays an important role as a European liquid fuels transportation and processing hub.
  • The Netherlands is the second-largest producer and exporter of natural gas in Europe, following Norway, and the Netherlands is home to Europe's largest natural gas trading hub in terms of spot volumes.

Petroleum liquids

  • The Netherlands is a major petroleum liquids refining and storage center. As of January 1, 2016, the country had just above 1.2 million barrels per day (b/d) of crude oil refining capacity, according to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ). At the beginning of 2014, the country had more than 210 million barrels of storage capacity, with the majority (more than 170 million barrels) located in Rotterdam. Additionally, the Port of Amsterdam serves as a major hub for gasoline storage, blending, and transshipment.
  • Petroleum accounted for just under half of Dutch energy consumption in 2015. According to OGJ, the Netherlands is estimated to have 140 million barrels of oil in proved reserves. EIA estimates that the Netherlands consumed about 911,000 b/d of oil in 2015, but domestically produced only 35,000 b/d. The Netherlands imported crude oil primarily from Russia, Norway, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, and Kuwait in 2015.

Natural gas

  • The Netherlands produced just over 1.5 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of natural gas in 2015. Most of its natural gas fields are located offshore in the North Sea, although a number of them are located onshore, including Groningen, one of the ten largest natural gas fields in the world. According to OGJ, the Netherlands had approximately 26.9 Tcf of proved natural gas reserves as of January 1, 2016.
  • The government has capped annual natural gas production at the Groningen field as part of a policy to encourage production from smaller fields and to prolong the life of the field. This field acts as a swing producer to help balance the high seasonal fluctuations in demand in northern Europe. To help meet the increased winter demand for natural gas in the Netherlands and in Northwest Europe, gas production from the Groningen field in January is generally around double output in July.
  • In both January 2014 and December 2014, the Netherlands' government reduced the annual cap on production from the Groningen field because of concerns over an increase in the frequency and intensity of earthquakes in the area. The government capped Groningen production as a whole at 1,059 billion cubic feet (Bcf) for 2015, and there were regional limits on gas production implemented as well. The Loppersum, Eemskanaal, and Southwest clusters capped their production at about 100 Bcf, 70 Bcf, and 350 Bcf respectively in 2015. These regional clusters produced below their imposed limits in 2015. The total production in 2015 at the Groningen field, 990 Bcf, was less than the maximum allowed. In December 2015, the production cap was lowered again to 950 Bcf for 2016. In June 2016, the government announced the cap for 2016/2017 at roughly 850 Bcf starting October 2016, but depending on cold weather could be raised to just over 1,000 Bcf . The decrease in production for 2016/2017 will be 47% to 55% lower than the nearly 1,900 Bcf produced from Groningen in 2013 before the government began capping production. This new production cap for Groningen will be in place for the next five years, starting in October 2016 and ending in September 2021.
  • Gasunie, the Netherlands' gas grid operator, has facilities that inject nitrogen into high-calorific gas (H-gas) to convert it to low-calorific gas (L-gas). Groningen field produces L-gas, while natural gas imported from the rest of Europe is H-gas. A large portion of equipment and utilities in the Netherlands are only compatible with L-gas, so production cuts from the Groningen field are forcing the Netherlands to import more H-gas. According to Gasunie, they converted roughly 170 Bcf of H-gas to L-gas in 2014. As a result of the production cuts at Groningen, Gasunie increased the amount of converted gas to about 600 Bcf in 2015. Gasunie is planning on expanding the production capacity at the Zuidbroek gas treatment facility tenfold. This 216 million dollar expansion is to be completed by the end of 2019.
  • Natural gas produced in the Netherlands is shipped via an extensive domestic and export pipeline system, which directly connects the country with the United Kingdom, Germany, and Belgium and indirectly connects it to most of Europe.
  • In addition to pipeline natural gas, the Netherlands now serves as a transport hub for liquefied natural gas (LNG). The Gas Access to Europe (GATE) LNG terminal became operational in September 2011. While initially designed to unload, store, and regasify LNG and deliver the gas into the pipeline system, the terminal can also act as a break-bulk and re-export facility, loading LNG onto trucks or small ships for distribution in Northwest Europe, or reloading LNG onto large ocean-going tankers for re-export throughout the world. Currently, GATE has a throughput capacity of 423 Bcf with the ability to increase capacity to 565 Bcf in the future.
  • The Netherlands is also home to the Title Transfer Facility (TTF) natural gas hub, the largest and most liquid natural gas hub in continental Europe. TTF has also been the fastest-growing natural gas hub in Europe, and in 2014, TTF surpassed the United Kingdom's National Balancing Point hub in terms of spot volumes traded.
  • The Netherlands consumed just above 1.1 Tcf of natural gas in 2015, accounting for approximately 35% of total energy consumption. Most natural gas is consumed by the electric power, residential, and commercial sectors.

Electricity

  • According to Statistics Netherlands, gross electricity generation was approximately 110 billion kilowatthours (BkWh) in 2015. Fossil fuel-fired power plants produced over 80% of the electricity in the Netherlands, mainly natural gas (42%) and coal (35%). More than 12% of the Netherland's electricity is generated from renewable sources, mainly biomass and waste (5% of the total) and wind (7% of the total). The Dutch power system is connected to Belgium and Germany, as well as to Norway and the United Kingdom via high voltage lines that run along the North Sea bed.
  • Dutch parliament passed a motion in November 2015 to begin phasing out coal-fired power plants. The Netherlands has 11 coal-fired power plants, and the five oldest plants are to be closed by 2020. Two more coal plants are to be reviewed for closure later in 2016, while the remaining four are considering converting to biomass co-firing.