Dutch natural gas strategy: historic perspective and challenges ahead
Abstract We highlight a watershed in the natural gas legacy of the Netherlands: after 50 years of successful gas development, production output of conventional fields will decline from 2010 onwards. The projected decline in Dutch gas output will lead to a loss of future income for the State. In the past, E&P companies were prepared to compete for access to Dutch assets and lead in research as well as in the exploration for the development of conventional gas resources. Today, this cannot be assumed for the development of unconventional resources. It is not clear from our current state of knowledge whether the riskier unconventional gas resources in the Netherlands will be attractive for E&P companies. For example, are the financial risks for maturing potential unconventional resources into economic proved reserves acceptable to them? The US boom in unconventional gas production was preceded by government sponsored research programmes that stimulated the development of unconventional gas production technology. Decline in domestic gas production in the Netherlands therefore prompts for a dedicated upstream gas research programme. This will help to unlock future value from stranded conventional gas and unexplored unconventional gas resources. If such new gas resources can indeed be developed with the aid of research, undue loss of state income can be mitigated, which makes such a programme a compelling business case.
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