Dutch small field gas output edges lower in September
London, 27 November (Argus) — Production from the Netherlands' small fields edged lower in September from a year earlier and summer output was the lowest in recent years.
Aggregate output, excluding the Groningen swing field, slipped to 49.3mn standard m³/d from 49.9mn m³/d a year earlier. Offtake in September 2016 had been the lowest for any month last year.
But production this September was higher than in some months earlier in the summer. It had fallen to 44.4mn m³/d in June, the lowest for any month in recent years.
A drop in production from onshore fields in September — which was down to 16.9mn m³/d from 19.1mn m³/d a year earlier — was partly offset by stronger offshore output.
Slower onshore production was partly driven by the Warffum field halting in September, after it had produced 727,000 m³/d a year earlier. And quicker output from some more recently commissioned fields such as Diever, which came on line in October 2015, was unable to offset considerably weaker production from older onshore fields.
Offshore production was stronger than a year earlier as output from some fields rebounded. Offtake from A18-FA more than doubled to 1.37mn m³/d from 612,000 m³/d.
And the F03-FB and L02-FB fields, which had halted in September 2016, produced 723,000 m³/d and 796,000 m³/d.
This more than compensated for a sharp drop in offtake from the G-14 A and B fields, which was down to 1.45mn m³/d from 2.37mn m³/d. A decline from these Engie-operated fields had driven weaker aggregate small field output in August compared with a year earlier.
Small field production this summer was the lowest since at least 2003, continuing its long-term decline. Output was just 50.3mn m³/d in April-September, down from 55.8mn m³/d a year earlier.
And offtake in the 2016-17 gas year was down to 54.2mn m³/d from 59.9mn m³/d in October 2015-September 2016.
The Dutch economy ministry expects production to fall further in the coming years, especially as new fields coming on line have so far failed to offset decreasing output from older fields.
And the government plans not to issue new exploration licences for onshore gas fields, although existing licences remain valid.
The extent of the decline in small field production will depend on the development of gas prices and the incentive provided for maximising recovery and increasing exploration, Dutch state-owned EBN said earlier this year.
Dutch small field production mn m³/d
Cumulative small field production in recent summers bn m³