Changing dynamics. The reduction of gas production in the Netherlands and the influence on the energy dependency of the Rotterdam industrial cluster

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The Dutch energy system is greatly dependent on natural gas. In 2013 the primary energy consumption in the Netherlands was for 43% supplied with natural gas (CBS, 2015a). With this proportion of natural gas the Netherlands has the highest share in national primary energy consumption of Europe (Eurogas, 2014). The reason for this large share of natural gas is the Dutch national gas production. The Netherlands has been a large gas producer, consumer and exporter since the find of the large onshore field in Groningen province. The natural gas production in the Netherlands is decreasing currently. Several studies have shown that natural gas production will be at such a level that the Netherlands will become a net importer around 2025 (IEA, 2012; ECN, 2014). These estimates are without inclusion of the recent decisions to limit production from the Groningen field. The integral role of natural gas is very important; many energy processes in the Dutch economy run on natural gas. When Dutch gas production decreases, the downstream part of the natural gas-value chain in the Netherlands might be affected. To prevent structural import dependency on one supplier, such as Russia or Norway, the Netherlands can diversify gas supply with LNG imports and biogas production. Another method to be less dependent on import is to find alternatives in the energy portfolio to satisfy Dutch energy demand. Clustered industrial sectors, such as the Rotterdam area, will also be affected when domestic gas supply will be reduced. The question is how dependent the Rotterdam industrial cluster is on natural gas. The Dutch industrial dependency on gas will be the focus of this master thesis, as presented in the main research question: “What influence has the reduction of gas production in the Netherlands on the energy sourcing of the Rotterdam industrial cluster?”