Gas extraction group NAM ‘should investigate earthquakes’

Gas and oil extraction company NAM should launch an investigation into the earthquakes which hit northern parts of the country, government mining inspectors say in their annual report, according to news agency Novum.

The report, sent to parliament on Wednesday, asks NAM to look into the cause of the quakes and to establish if anything can be done to reduce their severity.
Earlier this month, the north of Groningen province was hit by two minor earthquakes, one of which measured 3.4 on the Richter scale and caused some localised damage.
The Groningen quakes are a consequence of years of underground natural gas extraction and this month’s was one of the most serious to hit the province. Groningen contains huge gas reserves.
Economic affairs minister Maxime Verhagen told Novum: ‘It is of great importance to make sure we look into preventing damage occurring, as well as compensating for damage’.
Albert Rodenboog, mayor of the town of Loppersum where this month’s quake centred, told news agency ANP at the time NAM should be more generous in compensating locals for damage.
People whose property has been affected have to report the matter to NAM which then sends its own inspector to check. Payouts rarely amount to more than a couple of hundred euros, Rodenboog said.
But because there are so many quakes in the area – between 30 and 40 a year – locals are getting tired of going through the process, the mayor told ANP. He says engineers should be asked to examine all the houses for structural cracks to ensure damage is reduced in the future.
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