Natural gas consumption in the Netherlands in 2022 at its lowest in 50 years

Natural gas consumption in the Netherlands decreased by 22% in 2022 compared to 2021 and reached its lowest point in 50 years. Lower consumption in households and gas-intensive industries mainly explains the figures.

Household gas consumption
© Mykola Makhlai

Statistics Netherlands released its latest figures on natural gas consumption on February 13 and shows that total consumption in the country stood at 31 billion cubic meters in 2022. It is the lowest level since 1972.

Natural gas consumption in 2022 declined 22 percent from 40.1 billion cubic meters in 2021. It is the steepest change, both decline and increase, in the last 50 years. Over this period, year-on-year consumption fluctuated at a larger range than 10 percent only in six other years, and never more than 13 percent. The Netherlands experienced a 13 percent increase in natural gas consumption in 2010 when it reached its highest level since 1972 at 53 billion cubic meters used.

Statistics Netherlands explains this low consumption through a decline in industrial use and in households.

Large natural gas-intensive companies, accounting for 20 percent of national consumption, reduced their consumption by 2.39 billion cubic meters, and dwellings by 2.37 billion cubic meters.

The strong decline among large industrial companies that normally have high natural gas consumption levels (-28%) was particularly noticeable in the petroleum and chemical industries. At the same time, power plants consumed 12 percent less natural gas.

Natural gas consumption in the Netherlands
Natural gas consumption in the Netherlands reached its lowest level in 50 years | © Statistics Netherlands

Households’ natural gas consumption declined by 25 percent and reached 7.16 billion cubic meters in 2022. Households account for 23 percent of the national natural gas consumption in the Netherlands. Part of the decline, about 10 percentage points, can be attributed to warm temperatures. But removing the effect of temperatures, Statistics Netherlands finds that Dutch households consumed 15 percent less natural gas in 2022 than in 2021.

And this decline was largely due to high gas prices in the country as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine according to the statistics bureau.

The decline in natural gas consumption is also partially on account of greenhouse horticulture companies producing their own electricity with a gas engine, a sector accounting for almost 7 percent of the country’s gas consumption, as they consumed more than 30 percent less natural gas.

This frugal consumption helped the Netherlands have gas storage facilities well filled at three quarters of the storage facilities. Dutch gas reserves were more than twice as large at the end of 2022 as at the end of 2021. The Netherlands also increased imports, notably of liquefied natural gas as an alternative to Russian natural gas.

As Europe is more likely going to pass winter without rationing energy or cutting power, gas prices on financial markets recently dropped. Gas prices are exchanged in the Netherlands at a price close to the levels seen in September 2021 before the war in Ukraine.

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