Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Netherlands: Exploration for Geothermal Resources Could be Tailor-Made for Oil Firms

Big oil rises to Dutch geothermal challenge (Petroleum Economist)

The quest for clean energy to fill the gap left by declining gas production could be tailor-made for oil firms

Geothermal is already a popular source of cheap, clean heating for the Netherlands' large tomato and flower-growing industry, pumping hot water from up to 4km (2.5 miles) below ground to serve greenhouses via heat networks. But now geothermal is starting to go mainstream, echoing increasing interest in the sector in neighbouring France and Germany.

Firms such as Shell, France's Engie and Canadian independent Vermilion Energy have submitted plans for large geothermal heat projects in the Netherlands in recent months. Official data shows more than 30 applications were received for geothermal permits across 2017 and 2018, compared to fewer than 10 in total over the previous seven years.

One of the stand-out elements of the regime is that the government helps companies cover the risk of exploration, removing a key obstacle that often stands in the way of tapping fresh energy resources. The Dutch government has already committed to continuing this regime and to help the industry mature, for example by running innovation programmes to improve technological know-how.

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