No agreement made on paying for shale gas damage: Milieudefensie

Licences to carry out test drilling for shale gas in the Netherlands should be withdrawn because they do not include any provision for paying for damage, environmental group Milieudefensie said on Thursday.

British company Cuadrilla Resources has licences to carry out test drilling in three places in the Netherlands – Boxtel, Haaren and Noordoostpolder – although the final green light has not yet been given.


But Milieudefensie says economic affairs minister Henk Kamp has not made legally binding agreements with Cuadrilla about who is responsible for paying for environmental damage.


Freedom of information


The organisation bases its claims on correspondence between the minister and Cuadrilla obtained using freedom of information legislation.


The organisation says Kamp has no guarantee that Cuadrilla will pay if ground water becomes polluted or there are earthquakes because of the drilling.

Although Kamp told MPs in December there is ‘no reason to doubt the financial capacity of the licence holder’, other documents show the Dutch subsidiary has no formal guarantees on finance from its British parent, Milieudefensie said.



Last September Kamp imposed a moratorium on further drilling pending further research. That will take at least 1.5 years, he said at the time.


Shale gas is ordinary natural gas that has been trapped in dense shale beds deep underground. It is extracted using a controversial process known as fracking, which involves drilling a hole deep into the shale and pumping in water mixed with sand and chemicals.


A number of local councils, water boards and even brewing groups like Heineken have come out against the production of shale gas in the Netherlands because of the risk of pollution.

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