Last year, 58.5 billion m3 of natural gas was exported, the largest volume since large deposits of natural gas were discovered near the municipality of Slochteren in the province of Groningen. Gas exports increased by 11 percent last year relative to 2007. The volume of gas imported into the Netherlands hardly changed.
Gas imports and exports
Trade surplus continues to grow
The natural gas trade surplus was approximately 50 percent higher in 2008 than in 2007. The increase was mainly caused by a sharp increase in gas prices in recent years. The trade surplus expressed in cubic metres grew by 22 percent in 2008. Imports as well as exports of natural gas increased in recent years. This fits in with the ambition to give the Netherlands a pivotal role as the gas roundabout of North-West Europe.
Gas exports through border passages
Gas exported to Great Britain since 2007
The increase is attributable to gas exports to Great Britain. In December 2006, a pipeline from the Netherlands to Great Britain became operational. Nearly 8 billion m3 of natural gas was exported through this pipeline in 2007 and more than 9 billion m3 in 2008. Gas exports to Germany and Belgium were also back at their former level in 2008. In 2007, the volumes of gas exported to Germany and Belgium were relatively small on account of extremely mild weather conditions in winter.
Natural gas balance, 2007 and 2008
More natural gas extracted
Natural gas extraction in the Netherlands amounted to more than 80 billion m3 in 2008, i.e.11 percent more than in 2007. The total volume extracted last year is one of the largest in the past decade. With 81.5 billion m3, 2004 was the only year in which more gas was extracted.
Total natural gas consumption in the Netherlands in 2008 was more than 4 percent up on 2007, because 2008 had more low-temperature days than 2007.
Otto Swertz and Jan Kloots