Gas extraction company NAM has bought a listed farmhouse near the Groningen village of Onderdendam which has been so badly damaged by earthquakes it is not worth repairing, news agency ANP said on Friday.
The quakes are caused by the land settling following the extraction of natural gas from underneath the northern province.
It is the first time NAM has bought a property damaged by earthquakes and is a ‘one-off’, the company said.
‘We can solve most of the damage reports, even the complicated ones,’ the spokesman said. ‘But it would have been so expensive and time-consuming to repair the damage and strengthen the property that a buy-out was the best option for all concerned.’
The price paid for the farm was not made public. The property was built in 1894 and totally renovated in 2002 but is now in danger of collapse.
The NAM spokesman did not rule out other buy-outs in the future.
Three investigations into the direct of cause of the Groningen quakes and their impact on locals are currently underway. Many people are concerned about the effect on the value of their property.
NAM has said it will take steps to prevent damage to vulnerable buildings and is looking at ways to extract gas with less far-reaching effects. It describes the risks as ‘acceptable and manageable’.
NAM has had 9,100 reports of damage to homes in the region over the past year.
Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp said in July there is no evidence yet that property prices have gone down in parts of Groningen because of the earthquakes.
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