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‘Big step forward’ in dealing with Groningen earthquake damage claims

Printed below is an English translation of an article published today by the Dutch Financial Times, Financieele DagbladRoyal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil each own a 50% share in NAM, the company responsible for the earthquake blighted Groningen Gas Field and consequential potential bill for untold billions in damages to effected residences.

‘Big step forward’ in dealing with Groningen earthquake damage claims

Lone Mugstorm • Economy & Politics

The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) has already dealt with more than half of the claims relating to natural gas extraction in Groningen. This is what Minister Wiebes of Economic Affairs reports in a letter to the House of Representatives on Friday.

These are the approximately 5,600 claims submitted before 31 March 2017. These will still be handled by NAM. Residents of Groningen who have suffered damage from gas extraction after that date can now go to a special government counter.

In about 91% of the submitted ‘old claims’ an offer has already been sent by the NAM, of which damage detectors accepted the bid in 59% of the cases. About a third of the owners have not yet responded to the company’s offer.

Earlier this week Hans Alders stepped up as National Coordinator Groningen (NCG) after a conflict with Minister Wiebes. Alders is of the opinion that the Minister has ‘sidelined’ the consultative bodies in the folded talks about the reinforcement operation in the earthquake area.

Ordinary

Wiebes also reports on Friday that up to now an ‘orderly process’ has been followed for the claims handling, in which conversations ‘take place in a reasonably normal and professional atmosphere’. This is based on an independent investigation that the minister has commissioned. The majority of the homeowners surveyed indicated that they were satisfied with the contact with the CVW or the NAM during the settlement. Satisfaction with the level of the allowance differs greatly, although the majority of the surveyed owners say they think positively or neutrally about the offer.

The aim of the NAM is to have sent an offer on 1 July for all old damage reports. However, these will not all be resolved at that moment: in the cases where the offer has been rejected by the owners, so far in the case of about 7% of the claims, the damage will be submitted to the independent Arbiter Soil Movement.

The company has allocated an extra € 50 million for the handling of the relevant ‘old claims’

SOURCE

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