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Shell and Exxon’s Symphony of Denial and Delay: Groningen Gas Field Closure Confirmed

…the province of Groningen has endured over a thousand earthquakes in the last couple of decades, while the Dutch government and our beloved Shell and Exxon raked in a mere €360 billion.

Posted by John Donovan 24 Sept 2023

In a stunning display of corporate responsibility and government foresight, the Dutch government, along with energy giants Shell and Exxon Mobil, has finally decided to end the Groningen gas field. But, of course, it’s only after years of ignoring the pesky little problem of earthquakes and building damage.

A mere seven months ago, a parliamentary inquiry dared to suggest that the Dutch government and the dynamic Shell-Exxon duo had been a bit too negligent in their gas production escapades. Apparently, they didn’t quite grasp the notion that drilling for gas might have some, shall we say, side effects on the residents of Groningen. How adorable!

This massive Groningen gas field, operated by the Shell-Exxon lovechild known as NAM, has been the gift that keeps on giving, supplying Europe with natural gas for decades. Who cares about a few tremors and collapsing houses when there are profits to be made, right?

But fear not, dear citizens of Groningen, for the Dutch government has finally come to the rescue! They’ve declared, with all the urgency of a sloth on a Sunday afternoon, that the Groningen gas field will cease operation completely on October 1, 2023. Only a decade or so after those pesky earthquakes started causing trouble. Bravo!

But wait, there’s more! The Council of Ministers, in a fit of decisiveness, also decided that they’ll be demolishing all those extraction locations in October 2024, just to make sure the fields never bother them again. After all, who wants the option to restart a controversial gas field looming over their heads?

However, let’s not get too carried away. The Council kindly left a small window of opportunity open. In case of “extreme need,” they graciously allow the field to operate temporarily. You know, like when there’s “very severe cold.” Because who needs a warm home when we can’t extract gas temporarily, right?

Of course, there was a time when rising gas prices and an energy crunch made the idea of keeping the gas fields operational a tempting prospect. But alas, the law now requires these fields to be demolished, effective next October. How inconvenient!

To add a bit of poetic justice to this tale, the province of Groningen has endured over a thousand earthquakes in the last couple of decades, while the Dutch government and our beloved Shell and Exxon raked in a mere €360 billion. Just a tiny sum, really. Another €66 billion went to Shell and Exxon, because we all know they needed a bit of extra pocket change.

In 2013, Shell and Exxon were gently informed that maybe, just maybe, they should consider reducing output and start thinking about shutting the field down. But why rush? It’s only been a decade since then.

In conclusion, we salute the Dutch government, Shell, and Exxon for their stellar performance in the grand theatre of environmental stewardship. Their ability to ignore inconvenient truths and act at the pace of a snail in a marathon is truly a sight to behold.

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