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Groningen Earthquake Victim Compensation

Printed below is an English translation of an article published today by the Dutch Financial Times, Financieele Dagblad. NAM is the Shell/Exxon Joint Venture company responsible for the earthquake blighted Groningen Gas Field and consequential potential bill for untold billions to deal with damaged residences.

Three quarters of Groningen victims accept NAM offer

Louis Hoeks • Economics & Politics

Of all 6199 Groningers with outstanding reports about earthquake damage to their homes, almost 74%, 4562 people, accepted the offer from the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) for compensation. In almost 10% of cases, the proposal was rejected and almost 17% have not yet responded. This is apparent from a letter that Dutch Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs and Climate sent to the House of Representatives on Thursday.

These are claims for compensation that were submitted before 1 April 2017 and therefore do not fall under the damage protocol presented on 31 January of this year. “We are unhappy that some people have rejected NAM’s offer,” said Wiebes Thursday in a parliamentary debate. The minister spoke with NAM, together with Commissioner of the King René Paas.

Fast and generous solution

The company will actively approach victims via telephone and has opened a temporary counter in Loppersum where residents can ask questions about the received offer. The leftist opposition wants Wiebes to look at residents who would have agreed to NAM’s proposal under pressure. A minority of GroenLinks, SP, PVV and Partij voor de Dieren want a parliamentary inquiry into the handling of the earthquake damage.

When a new damage protocol was drawn up for the province in January, it was agreed that the NAM would come up with ‘a quick and generous solution’ by 1 July at the latest. If a resident refuses an offer, he can submit the damage report to the so-called Arbiter Soil Movement.

Black book gas extraction

Wiebes said earlier that the NAM will in any event resign to the verdicts that the arbitrator makes about claims above € 25,000.Anyone who previously rejected the offer has until 9 July to agree with the offer.

The SP presented a Zwartboek Gaswinning, containing the stories of more than 80 residents who were duped by the earthquakes. For example, one of them has found a damage of € 300,000 from an assessment firm, but has offered a compensation of € 3,500. In a second victim, the counter-expert established a loss of € 125,000, after which the NAM came up with a proposal of less than € 5,000.

Prinsjesdag

On Thursday, the Chamber also debated the deal that Wiebes concluded with Shell and Exxon about the reduction of gas production from the Groningen field. The leftist opposition vainly proposed that the agreement be renegotiated.

Wiebes will only clarify all financial consequences with Prinsjesdag. He finds it almost inevitable. ‘The pace is my inevitable mission here’, said Wiebes. ‘But this is decent work and it is complex.’

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