Natural gas consumption 25 percent lower in first half of 2022

gas meter
© Hollandse Hoogte / Richard Brocken
Natural gas consumption in the Netherlands amounted to 17.6 billion cubic metres (m3) over the first six months of 2022. This is 25 percent less than in the first half of 2021. Especially manufacturing and power plants used less natural gas. Imports of (gaseous) natural gas (CNG) via Germany declined significantly compared to one year previously, while imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the United States and Russia rose. The natural gas reserves increased in the first half of 2022. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this based on monthly figures on natural gas consumption in the Netherlands.

In the first half of 2022, natural gas consumption in energy-intensive industries fell by more than 30 percent year on year. It mainly declined in the petroleum industry (-59 percent) and chemical industry (-32 percent). Power plants also consumed 28 percent less gas.

Greenhouse horticulture consumed 23 percent less natural gas for power generation; this decrease coincides with the mild spring of 2022 and higher energy prices. Households also consumed less natural gas, approximately 16 percent.

Natural gas consumption per half year
JaarHelftNatural gas consumption (bn m3)
20201st half year21.514
20202nd half year20.319
20211st half year23.559
20212nd half year16.569
20221st half year17.629

More imports, fewer exports of natural gas

Relative to one year previously, the Netherlands imported 3 percent more and exported 20 percent less natural gas in the first half of 2022.

Imports of gaseous natural gas were down by 10 percent, but developments varied greatly by origin. On the one hand, imports from Belgium doubled while imports from the UK were five times higher. On the other hand, the Netherlands took 26 percent less gas from Norway and 70 percent less from Germany. It is likely that the flow from Germany is, to a great extent, gas from Russia, but it is difficult to determine the origin of the gas in these flows. Finally, natural gas entered the Netherlands directly from underground storage facilities in Germany, intended for the Dutch market; this extraction fell by 20 percent.

Whereas imports of gaseous natural gas declined, the volume of imported liquefied natural gas (LNG) increased substantially, by 57 percent. The lion’s share of this LNG originated from the US and Russia. LNG from the US grew almost twice in volume year on year: from 2.1 billion m3 to 4.1 billion m3. As a result, the share of US LNG grew to approximately 50 percent of total LNG imports. LNG imports from Russia increased as well, by 35 percent.

Total natural gas imports rose slightly by 3 percent, while exports declined by 20 percent. Exports to the gas storage facilities in Germany were nearly three times higher than in 2021. The other exports to Germany remained stable. Exports to Belgium were halved and exports to the UK almost came to a complete standstill compared to last year (0.1 billion m3, down from 2.2 billion in 2021).

Natural gas exports and imports
JaarHelftImports of gaseous natural gas (bn m3)Imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) (bn m3)Exports of gaseous natural gas (bn m3)Exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) (bn m3)
20201st half year22.9765.963-20.478-0.292
20202nd half year24.6033.143-16.503-0.621
20211st half year22.5875.239-21.861-0.596
20212nd half year22.1184.546-17.869-0.702
20221st half year20.3548.213-17.483-0.389

Less gas extracted, more storage

Natural gas extraction was down by 18 percent in the first half of 2022. Onshore production declined by 31 percent: from 6.3 billion m3 in 2021 to 4.3 billion m3 in 2022. Offshore gas production was lower as well during the first six months of 2022 (-11 percent). At 7.8 billion m3 (70 percent), total gas reserves were higher at the end of this period compared to mid-2021. Due to the uncertainty in gas supplies from Russia, the Dutch government wants to replenish gas reserves for the coming winter. To achieve this, companies are compensated if it is not profitable to fill the storage facilities. The higher gas imports are related to this.

Natural gas reserve*, end of month
Maand2020 (bn m3)2021 (bn m3)2022 (bn m3)Current capacity (bn m3)
* Excluding reserved gas storage in Germany destined for supply to the Netherlands