Natural gas trade deficit for the first time in 2018

© Hollandse Hoogte
The Netherlands became a net importer of natural gas last year. Natural gas had an import value of almost 12 billion euros, an increase of 43 percent on 2017. Exports stood at 9.8 billion euros, partly due to higher prices. As a result, there was a trade deficit of 2.1 billion euros. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of provisional figures on Dutch goods trade.

International trade in natural gas (bn euros)
 Trade balanceImport valueExport value
'003.11.44.6
'014.32.36.5
'023.52.35.8
'033.32.45.8
'044.02.66.6
'055.43.18.4
'066.35.011.3
'076.14.811.0
'089.96.316.2
'096.85.111.9
'107.54.912.4
'119.35.614.9
'1210.27.017.2
'139.87.817.5
'146.57.113.6
'153.17.310.4
'162.66.18.7
'170.78.49.1
'18-2.112.09.8

Gas exports surpass 200 billion euros in 2000-2018

In the period 2000-2018, the Dutch export value of natural gas totalled 202 billion euros. In the same period, gas imports amounted to over 101 billion euros, resulting in a natural gas trade surplus of around 100 billion euros. The gas trade surplus was at its highest in 2012 at more than 10 billion euros. Due to an increased demand for natural gas during the cold European winters in 2012 and 2013, the Dutch export value reached a historically high level of more than 17 billion euros. The export price of natural gas was also relatively high in these years. Last year, natural gas exports amounted to 9.8 billion euros, i.e. 43 percent less than six years previously.

More natural gas from abroad

The province of Groningen has faced a number of earthquakes over the past few years. In March 2018, the Dutch Cabinet decided to scale back extractions in the Groningen gas fields. Natural gas extraction had already more than halved between 2012 and 2018. On the other hand, gas imports - from Norway and Russia in particular - have increased in recent years. In 2018, nearly 56 billion cubic metres of natural gas were imported, i.e. more than double the amount in 2012.

Seven percent of the imported natural gas is LNG. Last year, imports of this liquefied gas amounted to 4 billion m3, against 1.5 billion m3 in the previous year.

Natural gas imports (bn m3)
OnderwerpenGaseous natural gasLiquid natural gas (LNG)
200016.5
200120.3
200225.4
200324.1
200417.9
200521.7
200623.9
200724.7
200825.1
200924.3
201024.4
201122.70.0
201225.61.0
201327.90.9
201428.31.2
201536.32.3
201641.91.6
201749.41.5
201852.14.1

Higher export price in 2018

In 2018, the export price of natural gas, which is partly linked to the oil price, was approximately 14 percent up year-on-year. The price of gas from other countries is also consistent with the oil price, but to a lesser extent. After the turn of the century, prices of natural gas reached their highest level in the year 2012.

Price development of natural gas and oil (2000=100)
 North Sea Brent oilNatural gas import priceNatural gas export price
2000100100100
20019058120
20028648101
20038253109
20049976112
200514374147
2006170110188
2007171102179
2008217131238
2009145110194
2010196106190
2011258129236
2012281138246
2013266141225
2014243126201
201515799171
201613274133
201715786149
2018196112170