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Update from NAM on Shell/Exxon induced Dutch Earthquakes

Screen Shot 2016-04-19 at 20.31.49Update from NAM on Shell/Exxon induced Dutch Earthquakes

By John Donovan: 19 April 2016

Printed below in italics is a Google translation of information published in Dutch today by NAM, the Shell/Exxon Joint Venture company.

It is about the earthquakes inadvertently generated by NAM gas production activity in and around the Groningen Gas field in the Netherlands.

The damage arising from the earthquakes, which are expected to increase in intensity, will cost untold billions to deal with.

Maintaining current production level of 27 billion m3

On April 19th NAM published its proposal for future gas production from the Groningen gas field. It is the first step in a stepwise decision-making process that should lead before October 1, 2016 to a final government decision on gas production from the Groningen gas field. Given the complexity and societal concern about the earthquake record, the Minister of Economic Affairs has decided on extensive consultation with authorities, experts and residents for gas production decision.

NAM director Gerald Schotman: “As an organization we have never been so many discussions with our environment as now. That contact with residents and drivers I find valuable. It puts our feet on the ground. For me and my colleagues NAM is clear that earthquakes deep intervention in the lives of Groningen. To keep the peace in Groningen we continue in the coming period to maintain the current production level of 27 billion cubic meters. “

Maintaining production levels
For the next gas year proposes to maintain NAM in the Mining Plan for the current annual production of 27 billion m3 and the current distribution on the production sites. In future, the annual production can be adjusted in a controlled and uniform manner. The Measurement & Control Protocol describes how the level of production and production division may be adjusted. This is done on the basis of actual, reported and verified, data by third parties.

The upper limit for annual gas production was 33 billion m3 gas year. According to the latest findings also fall to this level of production safety risks within the standard set by the government and is thereby a uniform production possible. A lower limit is determined by other factors. The minister can ensure a broad assessment framework, including security of supply as well as the Council of State took this assessment in its preliminary injunction in November 2015.

NAM wants the level of production in the Groningen gas field stabilize the coming period at the current level of 27 billion m3. This also provides the opportunity to gain experience with the Measurement & Control Protocol and on this basis to improve the protocol further.

New threat assessment and risk
NAM has incorporated the results of the Mining Plan of the latest research into the threat of earthquakes and the risks processed for residents. Recommendations of State Supervision of Mines (SSM) and the Scientific Advisory Committee led to an adjustment. After a regular quality control, a correction was further reflected in the implementation of the model. This allows the estimation of the earthquake threat and risk is lower than calculated in November 2015.

The results lead compared to previous calculations to a lower estimate of the number of buildings that may not meet the safety of the public. This is a calculated statistical results based on a model with assumptions that we must continue to keep under continuous review. The extent to which in practice translates to the number of buildings to enhance depends on the validation of the study results (notably SSM and SACG), the results of structural inspections by the National Coordinator of Groningen and the manner in which the improved insights included in the relevant building standards. The last Hazard & Risk study results show that statistical concerns about a hundred buildings. The new findings are likely to not immediately result in an adjustment of the current inspection and reinforcement program. The National Coordinator of Groningen will determine the effect on its Multi-annual program and its implementation.

independent research
The research program, in which dozens of national and international scientists are concerned, meanwhile, continues with the aim to further reduce uncertainties. NAM recognizes the importance of independent knowledge and strongly supports the creation of a new knowledge network, overseen by an independent scientific advisory board. So-called “raw research ‘are now available to all interested parties. The Safety Board stated in its research report in 2015 that it is important for NAM to recognize the uncertainties surrounding gas and its effects and to appoint. Therefore remains NAM, as a responsible operator himself actively researching Groningen surface and the effects of gas.

Collaboration
After years of civil unrest over gaswinnning, it is in the interest of all involved to restore calm in Groningen. The updated Mining Plan therefore presents a production proposal gives direction to a stable and secure level of gas extraction in Groningen.

In collaboration with residents, NCG, CVW, research institutes and others will ROSE its role as a responsible operator of the Groningen gas field continue to prove and deserve. NAM is thereby more than ever open to dialogue with the outside world and wants cooperation with stakeholders to continuously improve.
 
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N.B. NAM at the request of the government on April 1, 2016 submitted an updated mining plan to the Minister of Economic Affairs. NAM does in the Mining Plan, as operator of the Groningen gas field, a proposal for future gas production from the field. The plan describes how much gas NAM can to win and how the company wants to do – within standards set by the government.

Besides the Mining Plan NAM has a Measurement & Control Protocol and submitted a new study plan. These documents complement each other, with special attention to the causes and consequences of earthquakes and the mitigation measures.

The filing of this triptych is the first step in a comprehensive decision-making process towards a final gas production decision before 1 October 2016. Given the complexity and social care around the earthquake record, the Minister has decided on a comprehensive consultation process for the gas act.

Also read the letter to ‘Planning consent decree Groningen gas field or check NAMPlatform.nl for all documents NAM

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