January 10, 2018 / 12:16 PM / 9 months ago

UPDATE 1-Dutch gas company NAM proposes cutting production at Groningen

(Adds more detail)

AMSTERDAM, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Dutch gas company NAM will propose reducing production at the Groningen gas field in the wake of Monday’s earthquake, a spokesman for the company said on Wednesday.

Spokesman Ewoud Nysingh said NAM, a Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil joint venture that operates the Groningen field, will propose a shut-down of some production clusters, leading to a lower production volume overall.

NAM will present details of its proposal to the government around 1400 GMT on Wednesday.

The proposed shut-down follows a magnitude 3.4 tremor in the Groningen region on Monday that was the largest in recent years. The final decision on the production will be made by the government.

Dutch Minister of Economic Affairs Eric Wiebes said on Monday that output in Groningen should be reduced “by as much as possible” during the current government term through 2021.

The Dutch government has lowered gas production several times in recent years, as decades of gas extraction have led to dozens of earthquakes every year in the Groningen region, causing damage to thousands of buildings and homes.

The new coalition government under Prime Minister Mark Rutte has already agreed to reduce output to around 20 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2021, from a current 21.6 bcm and down from 39.4 bcm in production year 2015-16. (Reporting by Bart Meijer. Editing by Jane Merriman)

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