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Pieter de Vries

How Exxon and Shell used hundreds of millions from the Dutch state treasury to deny Groningen gas field earthquake damage claims

This article is an English translation of a revealing article by Dutch journalist Sam Gerrits published on the website FOLLOW THE MONEY. It is about the sleazy repercussions of the earthquakes blighting NAM’s operation of the Groningen Gas Field. NAM (The Dutch Petroleum Company) is a Shell/Exxon joint venture company.

This story starts in 1959, almost sixty years ago. Jan de Quay of the Catholic People’s Party (KVP) ruled the country. The first DAF cars came from the factory in Eindhoven, the first Barbie dolls from the molds of Mattel in California. Alaska and Hawaii joined as 49th and 50th with America. And in Slochteren gas was found in the beetroot fieldof farmer Boon. That soon turned out to be the largest gas field in Europe.

Thanks to it’s large population density, the Netherlands was the perfect place to build a natural gas network. The Texan Exxon engineer Douglass Murray Stewart calculated for the then Minister of Economic Affairs Jan de Pous that the state, by selling gas directly to households, and not power plants, could earn three times as much. The state would receive the lion’s share of the profits; Stewart’s plan was heard. read more

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