The Netherlands government is planning to impose limits on exploration drilling in new onshore oil and gas fields in a bid to achieve its climate goals, reported Reuters.

As part of the new plan, the country intends to approve onshore drilling work for gas fields which have already received exploration permits.

In addition, the government has decided to grant no new drilling permits for onshore oil fields.

The government, however, intends to limit exploration in offshore gas fields in the North Sea as it looks to reduce its dependence on Russian gas.

Netherlands Mining Deputy Minister Hans Vijlbrief was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Gas is still needed as we move to sustainable alternatives. But oil is no longer needed to guarantee the energy supply to households.”

Currently, the European country owns approximately 175 smaller onshore gas producing fields, which are expected to supply nearly 400 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas.

In a separate development, the Dutch government is planning to close production at its Groningen field by October 2023, owing to the risks of earthquakes, The Financial Times (FT) has reported.

In recent years, gas production at the field has been reduced to a minimum to limit seismic risks in the region.

Vijlbrief was cited by the news agency as saying that the earthquake-prone gas field will be shut by 2 October 2023. However, the field would remain operational for another year, if required, to meet potential gas shortages in Europe following the winter.