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Fears of new quakes in Dutch gas field as energy crisis bites

The Guardian

Fears of new quakes in Dutch gas field as energy crisis bites

Arthur Neslen: Mon 22 Aug 2022 10.00 BST

The province of Groningen is home to a vast gas field and the subject of a parliamentary inquiry into the links between gas extraction and the hundreds of earthquakes and tremors that have traumatised residents.

Groningen’s inhabitants have been affected by the giant gas field for the last few decades. About 80% of houses in villages such as Overschild are being demolished and rebuilt because of earthquake damage. More than 150,000 Groningen residents have suffered earthquake damage to their properties in the last decade, and 10,000 now face stress-related health problems.

The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), which runs the field, was founded by Shell and ExxonMobil. It historically dealt with many of the complaints, but in 2017 the Dutch government took over. “This is informally called ‘NAM at a distance’,” said a NAM spokesperson. “This was not only the wish of the Dutch government and citizens in Groningen, but also of NAM.”

The company would not comment on individual cases, some of which are handled by different agencies, but accepted that mistakes had been made.

“Once they ramp up gas production again – which they will do, because they’ll never waste a good crisis – do you think the benefits will come to Groningen this time or will they also need a golden tap in the shithole of their castle?” Jeroen asked.

“No man, they’re going to screw us over again,” he replied.


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