‘Earthquake repairs to cost far more than estimate’

groningen earthquake damageConstruction experts expect the programme to strengthen up to 90,000 homes in Groningen’s earthquake zone will cost €6.5bn, the Telegraaf reports.

This is well above the €500m price tag included in last year’s agreement between national, provincial and local governments, the paper says. That estimate is also based on carrying out work on 50,000 homes.

National government and the provincial council are currently hammering out details of the programme, which will be carried out by part of NAM, the Shell-ExxonMobil joint venture which has the gas extraction rights.

Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp has promised that 3,000 houses will be worked on this year and 5,000 in 2016. However, some officials say progress is far too slow. ‘At this speed it will take 27 years to carry out all the work,’ one official told the Telegraaf.

Local officials want Kamp to again reduce the volume of gas being extracted from under Groningen to reduce the earthquake risk.

MPs are due to debate a further reduction on gas production next Thursday.

According to the Volkskrant, some MPs from the ruling Labour party now support further cuts, which could hurt the government’s majority in favour of maintaining gas supplies.

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