• Contract for six months from October gains as much as 5.1%
  • Netherlands may decide on Groningen field production on Friday

Dutch natural gas advanced to the highest since December before a government decision on production from Europe’s biggest field expected on Friday.

The winter contract, for the six months from October, gained as much as 5.1 percent, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg. Dutch Economy Minister Henk Kamp expects the government to decide on output from the Groningen field on Friday, the ANP news agency reported late Tuesday after De Telegraaf newspaper said gas extraction linked to earthquakes would be curbed by another 11 percent.

Output in 2015 at the Groningen deposit fell to its lowest level since 2002 after regulators mandated a cap of 27 billion cubic meters (950 billion cubic feet) a year, according to the Royal Dutch Shell Plc-Exxon Mobil Corp. venture that operates the field. Annual output shouldn’t exceed 24 billion cubic meters in the coming years, De Telegraaf said Tuesday, citing a report from the state supervisory and regulatory body on gas and mining matters, the SODM. 

The decision will “most likely” be made Friday, Economy Ministry spokesman Pim van Strien said Wednesday by telephone. SODM’s report will become public following the ministry council Friday as parliament will be informed first through a letter, Esther Filon, a spokeswoman for the regulator, said by telephone.

Natural gas for winter in the Netherlands, the most liquid European market together with the U.K., rose as high as 17.60 euros a megawatt-hour ($5.82 a million British thermal units) at 12:16 a.m. Amsterdam time, broker data show.

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