Gasunie has given Air Products the go-ahead to construct three air separation plants for its nitrogen plant near Zuidbroek. Both companies are announcing this today. The nitrogen plant is necessary as part of the process of phasing out gas extraction in Groningen. It is anticipated that Air Products will start work in autumn 2019 following completion of the licensing procedure and preparation of the site for construction. The nitrogen plant will be brought into use in 2022.

Bart Jan Hoevers, managing director of Gasunie Transport Services: “Building the nitrogen plant is necessary to ensure gas production is scaled back as soon as possible. The new nitrogen plant will enable us to reduce production of Groningen gas by around 7 billion cubic metres per year.”

“We are honored to be part of the energy solution for The Netherlands. We have had a relationship with Gasunie since the late 1980s at Ommen and are pleased to be called on again to provide the technology to meet the Country’s industrial gas requirements.  We believe our selection for this very important project results from a combination of our market competitiveness, and the efficiency of design and the reliability of our nitrogen generation plants,” said Dr. Samir J. Serhan, executive vice president at Air Products.

Scaling back gas extraction in Groningen

The government has decided to scale back gas extraction in Groningen gradually over the coming years. The production of Groningen gas is to be reduced to less than 12 billion cubic metres per year by 2022 and gas extraction is to be completely finished by 2030.

In order to reduce dependency on Groningen gas in the short term, the Netherlands will have to import more gas from abroad. However this gas has a different composition and that's why Gasunie is building a new nitrogen plant near Zuidbroek in Groningen next to the existing nitrogen plant.

At this installation, nitrogen will be extracted from air here and mixed with high-calorific foreign gas, giving it the same composition as Groningen gas and making it suitable for Dutch households and businesses.