Royal Dutch Shell has been drilling for over a century in areas all around the world. However, the potential effects from earthquakes due to such natural gas production have led leaders in the Netherlands to change course and reduce such drilling at the Groningen gas field in their nation. The announcement was made on April 18 and directly affects Shell because the Groningen field is part of a joint venture the company has with Exxon Mobil.

shell groningen field set production cut

Groningen, which will face a 10 percent cut, is not only the 10th largest natural gas field in the world, but the largest such field on the continent of Europe. It was first discovered in 1959 and is located in the northeast part of the Netherlands, near the town of Slochteren, with production beginning four years later. This latest cut will begin in October.

The issue of making reductions has actually been going on over the course of the past four years, with the current 24 billion cubic meters being reduced to 21.6 billion when the October cuts begin. At its peak in 2013, the output was 53.9 billion, with the subsequent complaints of earthquakes making such changes inevitable the following year

The specific complaint was originally focused on the small tremors that were being felt. The steady reduction was in contrast to the request of the local residents to simply shut the field down completely.

The mature nature of the field has meant that 70 percent of the estimated 2.9 trillion cubic meters has already been extracted, with less than one trillion cubic meters still remaining. Over the more than 50 years of production, this has afforded residents of not only the Netherlands, but Belgium, Germany and selected parts of France to use it to run things like their home appliances and more.