(Bloomberg) --

The Netherlands seeks to shutter Europe’s biggest gasfield this year because of safety concerns, the Financial Times reported, citing government officials. 

The Dutch government plans to close the earthquake-prone Groningen gasfield by Oct. 1, but will monitor to see if there’s a gas shortage in Europe after this winter, the FT cited Hans Vijlbrief, state secretary for mining, as saying. If needed, it could remain operating until October 2024, Vijlbrief added.

The gasfield, located in Netherland’s north-east region close to the German border, has only been producing a fraction of its capacity, the report cited Vijlbrief as saying. Still, production continued as the government came under pressure to ramp up extraction last summer as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine caused a major gas shortage in Europe, it said. 

See also: Dutch Face 23% Fewer Gas-Linked Quakes After Production Cutback

A parliamentary inquiry is set to confirm that previous governments covered up the fact that gas extraction was causing earthquakes and findings will be presented next month, according to the report. 

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