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Opinion
Lionel Laurent

A $450 Billion Opportunity to Loosen Putin’s Energy Grip

The high-stakes fight over a Dutch gas megafield gets to the heart of the West’s energy dilemma.

Gas flares are the least of the complaints in the giant Dutch gas field.

Gas flares are the least of the complaints in the giant Dutch gas field.

Photographer: JOHN THYS/AFP

The Groningen gas field in the Netherlands is vast. It’s the largest in the European Union, and one of the 10 biggest in the world. Its available reserves of about 450 billion cubic meters are equivalent to all the EU’s needs for one year. 

It’s exactly the kind of precious (if non-renewable) economic resource that would normally be front and center in an energy crisis like the one afflicting the region today. Every molecule of gas counts at a time when Europe is scrambling to cut its ties to Russia — source of about 40% of the EU’s gas consumption — by chasing new suppliers, investing in renewables, curbing demand and wringing existing sources dry.