Gas consumption in the Netherlands declines again

© ANP / Laurens van Putten
A total of 30 billion cubic metres of natural gas were consumed in the Netherlands in 2023. That was a fall of 5 percent relative to 2022, a year in which natural gas consumption was already down by a quarter compared with the previous year. Households consumed 11 percent less natural gas in 2023. Imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) increased, and gaseous imports were down. Meanwhile, natural gas extraction in the Netherlands continued to decline. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports this on the basis of new figures.

Natural gas consumption was lower than the previous year in most sectors of the economy. Gas consumption in agriculture increased by 9 percent, but gas consumption by industry fell by 4 percent, and 6 percent less natural gas was used to generate electricity. Gas consumption in the built environment (homes and other buildings, such as shops, hotels, restaurants and hospitals) fell by 10 percent. Households consumed 11 percent less natural gas in 2023 than in 2022 despite similar winter temperatures, but gas prices did remain relatively high in 2023. Gas consumption in buildings such as shops, hotels, restaurants and hospitals was 7 percent lower.

Natural gas consumption
jaarElectricity (bn m3)Industry (bn m3)Built environment (bn m3)Agriculture (bn m3)

There were large differences in consumption trends within the industrial sector. For example, in the paper and basic metal sectors, natural gas consumption fell by 28 and 15 percent respectively. By contrast, oil refineries consumed 37 percent more gas than in the previous year. In the chemicals sector, the industrial sector with the highest gas consumption, gas usage was around the same in 2023 as it was in 2022. However, despite a decline in the first half of 2023, in the second half gas consumption in the chemicals sector was 15 percent higher than in the second half of 2022.

Imports of liquefied natural gas continued to rise

Imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) delivered by tanker rose by 33 percent to 25 billion cubic metres in 2023. Imports of gaseous natural gas delivered by pipeline fell by 23 percent to just below 31 billion cubic metres. LNG accounted for nearly 45 percent of total imports, compared with 32 percent in 2022. The shift to LNG began following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Alternatives were sought in order to reduce dependence on natural gas from Russia, which was imported mainly by pipeline. In 2021, 24 percent of imported natural gas came from Russia, but by 2023 that figure had fallen to less than 9 percent. The Netherlands imported more LNG from the United States in 2023: two-thirds of imported natural gas came from the US.

Dutch imports of natural gas by originating country
jaarNorway (%)Russia (%)USA (%)Other countries (%)

Gas storage facilities 81 percent full

At the end of 2021, the Netherlands’ gas storage facilities were 33 percent full. A natural gas fill rate was introduced in 2022 in order to ensure security of supply. By the end of 2022, partly due to lower consumption, the Netherlands’ gas storage facilities were 76 percent full, and by the end of 2023 they were 81 percent full.

Natural gas extraction continues decline

Natural gas extraction in the Netherlands continued to fall in 2023, declining by a total of 34 percent. Onshore extraction was down by 47 percent, and offshore extraction was down by 19 percent. The Groningen gas field was closed on 1 October 2023, and gas will no longer be extracted there except in extraordinary circumstances. Dwindling domestic extraction and rising imports mean that gas reserves are being replenished using gas from abroad.

Natural gas extraction
jaarOnshore (bn m3)Offshore (bn m3)