Working for the future of Groningen

Special report

The NAM joint venture with ExxonMobil (Shell interest 50%) in partnership with the Dutch government operates the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands. NAM continues to help people living in Groningen who regrettably have been affected by earthquakes linked to gas production.

A man walking at a facility being decommissioned in the Netherlands. (photo)

NAM continued to decommission its gas production facilities in Groningen in 2020.

The Dutch government is currently instructing NAM on production levels. Production from the Groningen field is expected to stop by 2022 or shortly thereafter. NAM is working with the government on plans to close down production as quickly and safely as possible while considering the energy security of the Netherlands. NAM is safely decommissioning its facilities and consulting with local communities to plan for the future of these production sites.

Supporting local communities

Since 2014, NAM has taken steps to help improve the situation in Groningen, such as investing in the NAM Liveability and Sustainability programme, which provided financial support for around 300 local initiatives to strengthen structures affected by earthquakes. This included support for houses and improving the running costs of sports facilities by installing solar panels.

In June 2020, the Dutch government took over the management of these investments through its Nationaal Programma Groningen, which receives around half its funding from NAM.

Handling damage claims

In 2020, NAM settled all outstanding damage claims for affected residents. All new claims are now handled by independent public organisations set up by the Dutch government.

NAM was, and will remain, responsible for all earthquake-related costs. Shell has provided a guarantee that it will fund its share of these costs if NAM is not able to pay them.

Decommissioning and restoration

In 2020, NAM continued to decommission its gas production facilities in Groningen with eight locations plugged and work started to safely remove surface infrastructure. In 2020, this included decommissioning gas facilities in Uiterburen, a small village in south-east Groningen, where production stopped in 2008. NAM plans for all wells at Uiterburen to be safely closed down by 2021.

At the same time, NAM continues to discuss plans with neighbours of production locations, local municipalities and the Economic Board Groningen to reuse locations for renewable energy facilities.

Investing for the future

Shell and NAM continue to look for ways to play a part in building a low-carbon energy future for Groningen.

In 2020, for example, Shell announced plans to work with partners Gasunie and Groningen Seaports on a project to use renewable energy to electrolyse water to produce green hydrogen. The NortH2 project includes an ambition to build an offshore wind farm in Groningen capable of producing up to 4 gigawatts by 2030 and up to 10 gigawatts by 2040.