Decision due today on scaling back Groningen gas production

Ministers are expected to take a decision later today on whether to scale back natural gas extraction from under the northern province of Groningen.

Cabinet sources told reporters less gas will be pumped out of the province but no figure has yet been decided.

 

Ministers have a tricky decision to make. Thousands of people in Groningen are fed up with the earthquakes which follow the gas extraction and the compensation bill for damage is mounting.

But at the same time, scaling back production will hit the treasury, which earns millions of euros from the gas. Ministers may also have one eye on the looming local elections and rise in public protests in the province.

 

Reports

 

A number of reports into the impact of the gas production are also due to be published today. Some look at the likely effect of further gas extraction, others on the relationship between falling house prices and the quakes.

 

Last year, the state mine regulators recommended a reduction in gas production of up to 40% because there is a risk of an earthquake of up to 5 on the Richter scale. That could lead to severe damage in the province.

 

The most severe earthquake so far measured 3.6 and took place in 2012.


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