A small earthquake measuring 2 on the Richter scale hit parts of the province of Groningen on Sunday night, just hours before economic affairs minister Henk Kamp is due in the region.
Kamp will explain his recent decision to reduce gas extraction still further to local officials on Monday. The quakes are caused by the land settling after gas has been extracted and thousands of homes have been damaged so far.
Kamp will also discuss plans to reinforce more properties and amend the quake damage compensation scheme which is currently administered by NAM, the private company responsible for gas extraction.
His visit comes three days after a leaked report showed safety in the region was not considered an issue by government officials or NAM prior to 2013.
Duty of care
The preliminary report by the safety research council Onderzoeksraad voor Veiligheid said the ministry, NAM and the regulator had all failed in their duty of care for focusing only on gas extraction volumes.
The report has not yet been finalised.
‘Until the beginning of 2013, the groups involved viewed the impact of the earthquakes as limited: they were seen as a risk which could be compensated for,’ the report said. Nor were the organisations prepared to listen to criticism, which was dismissed as ‘rubbish’, broadcaster Nos quotes the report as saying.
Groningen officials say politicians in The Hague have to understand the problem is about more than a few cracks in a few walls. They say NAM, the gas company jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil, will have to drastically reduce the amount of gas it takes out of the ground to reduce the risks.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation