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The European Investment Bank (EIB) has signed a EUR 240 million loan agreement with Gasunie, the public limited company that manages and maintains the infrastructure for large-scale transport and storage of gas in the Netherlands. The financing will be used for

the construction of a nitrogen plant near the town of Zuidbroek, in the Province of Groningen.

In view of earthquakes caused by the extraction of natural gas from the Groningen gas field, the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy mandated that Groningen gas production is to reduce as quickly as possible to achieve a complete shut-down of the field in 2030.

Gas from the Groningen field is of a lower calorific content than other gas supplies, whose high calorific content risks damaging the network and would entail the replacement of all end-users’ appliances. The new plant will produce nitrogen, which will be compressed and blended with imported gas, before it goes into the Dutch gas network, replicating the Groningen gas technical specifications. This will allow for the reduction of gas output from the Groningen field, as mandated by the Government.

The relationship between Gasunie and the EIB goes back a long way; the second project the European Investment Bank financed in the Netherlands was with Gasunie in 1969. This is the 7th operation between the EIB and Gasunie since then.