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The Dutch government is trying to develop a contingency plan to protect critical energy resources in case escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine cause shortages, Reuters reported.

The Netherlands, which is heavily dependent on gas for heating, electricity and industrial production, gets roughly 15% of its gas from Russia and the rest from Norway, industry sources said.

The gas supply plan was first developed in 2019, after a country that exported gas for decades became a net importer.

Now the details are being reviewed as Europe fears that the escalation around Ukraine could lead to disruptions in gas supplies.

Government officials told the Dutch parliament last week that stocks would be sufficient for winter use, but not for long-term shortages.

For several weeks we have been meeting with industry associations to discuss the extent to which we can minimize the social impact if they have to cut gas use,” said Tim van Dijk, an economics ministry spokesman. 

The escalation of violence in Ukraine will have a major impact on the European market and the Netherlands,he said.

The top 60 companies can cut energy consumption amid the crisis, he said, but they also need clarity on how they will be financially compensated if there are any business losses.

Plans for 2019 include first asking the public to reduce consumption, for example by turning off heating, while companies will be encouraged to switch to other sources of energy. If the crisis is acute, industrial users may be required to completely stop using gas.

Nearly 40% of Dutch energy is generated from gas. In 2020, 45% went to power generation, 28% to heating buildings and homes, and 21% to industry.

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