Royal Dutch Shell Plc  .com Rotating Header Image

Dutch cabinet acts in response to Groningen gas field earthquakes

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 20.37.24

Dutch cabinet limits gas extraction in Groningen

The field is operated by the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil with each company owning a 50 percent share.

THE HAGUE, Feb. 9 2015 (Xinhua) — The Dutch government has temporarily limited the lucrative gas extraction in Europe’s largest natural gas field Groningen in the first half of the year, pending further research on the safety and quality of life in the northern province.

The increasing earthquakes caused by the gas extraction have led to growing complaints among the residents of Groningen.

Although the minor earthquakes haven’t caused any injuries, people feel unsafe and houses are damaged. The government decided last January to cut the gas extraction and compensate those affected by the earthquakes.

The cabinet has set the maximum limit of gas extraction at 16.5 billion cubic meters (bcm) in the first half of 2015, and will decide afterwards whether to maintain last year’s schedule to cut total gas extraction to 39.4 billion bcm in 2015 or to make further reduction on the basis of new research.

Gas extraction in Groningen was 47.8 bcm in 2012, 53.9 bcm in 2013 and 42.5 bcm in 2014, respectively, according to figures released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The Dutch State Supervision of Mines has already proposed that the production level be cut back to 30 bcm to avoid more severe quakes, while the minimum level of supply guarantee is 35 bcm.

“Residents and board members of Groningen have in recent months asked the question why the gas winning is not further restricted,” Minister of Economic Affairs Henk Kamp stated during a press conference, adding that “the government will decide in July on the basis of the research information if a further reduction is needed for safety concerns.”

Together with the province and municipalities in Groningen, Kamp announced a package of measures such as the strengthening of 3,000 homes in 2015 and 5,000 in 2016. In addition, 50 million euros will be made available for strengthening public buildings.

This year 11,000 homes will be examined to see whether and how housing should be strengthened. New houses in Groningen will now be constructed earthquake-resistant.

In addition, residents can claim more compensation in an easier way.

“The inhabitants of Groningen deserve a safe and livable environment,” Kamp said.

“The government, the province and municipalities join efforts to overcome the problems. With the appointment of a National Coordinator, and limiting the gas extraction, the problems are now being solved faster and prevented as much as possible in the future,” he added.

The Groningen gas field, near Slochteren, discovered in 1959, is the largest natural gas field in Europe and one of the largest in the world.

The field is operated by the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), a joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil with each company owning a 50 percent share.

The NAM expects to extract natural gas from the Groningen field in at least the next 50 years.

SOURCE

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: