The Netherlands is planning to shut down the Groningen gas field permanently in 2023, reported Bloomberg, citing sources.

Located in the northeastern Netherlands and claimed to be Europe’s biggest, the government will shut the gas field on 1 October 2023.

A Dutch government spokesperson told the publication that an official decision by the cabinet will come later this month.

Depending on the geopolitical environment, the Netherlands had earlier planned to close the field at the latest by October of next year.

However, officials have been under political pressure because of the earthquakes the Groningen field has triggered, reported the media outlet.

Since production began in 1963, the field has served as a major gas supplier for much of Western Europe as well as the foundation of the Dutch government’s finances.

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Thousands of homes have been damaged by hundreds of earthquakes since the 1980s, leading to intense local opposition to the site.

Although the Groningen fields’ current contribution to Europe’s total gas output is small, the field provides a significant potential supply buffer.

The Dutch government committed earlier this year to provide inhabitants of Groningen with compensation totalling €22bn ($24.11bn) over 30 years.

According to one source, the Dutch government may fill the gas wells with concrete next year.

The Groningen field is currently functioning at minimum levels. Up to October this year, a maximum of 2.8 billion cubic metres of gas will be extracted from the field.

The sources also claimed that the decision to shut down the field was not final.

It would take around two weeks to reopen the wells if there was another energy crisis or a particularly harsh winter, they added.