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The socio-economic impacts of the closure of the Groningen gas field

Abstract: 

During the year 2019 the DG Joint Research Centre offered scientific support to the Cities of Northern Netherlands in their transition towards the closure of the Groningen gas field. This study reports on the assessment of the regional socio-economic impacts deriving from the closure of the gas field planned by 2022. This analysis served as a framework for evaluating the impacts and as an information tool for the local authorities on how to plan the steps towards a successful transition and a new socio-economic development. Although the energy sector is not new to experiences such as the closure of big extracting facilities, the analysis of the impacts on the regional economy, employment and the energy sector remains a challenging task. The scientific literature does not provide with a tested universal approach to the study of these impacts. SWAP analysis, input-output models are the most common methodologies. To assess the regional socio-economic impacts of the closure of the gas field in Groningen we adopted at step-wise approach starting from the analysis of the decision of the Dutch government announced in 2018 and followed up in September 2019. We then study the natural gas value chain from the point of view of the business activities in the territory and the jobs at risk. Finally we analyse the opportunities set out in the energy development plans in place or announced by the local authorities. To complement the assessment of future possible developments in the region, we also took into account in the analysis other energy production potentials from clean sources and the opportunities of gas infrastructure reuse. The result of our work was presented at the final conference held in Leeuwarden in December 2019. The work helped the local authorities of the Northern Netherlands in defining a road map for the industrial and economic transition required to adapt to a situation in which no natural gas will be extracted.