NAM appeals against Groningen gas cuts, says safety standards are questioned

A gas drilling site. Photo: Graham Dockery

Gas company NAM, a 50:50 joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil, is appealing to the Dutch Council of State against the government’s decision to cut natural gas production in Groningen.

The Council of State is the Netherlands’ highest administrative court.

Economic affairs minister Henk Kamp plans to reduce the volume of gas extracted from the provinces huge underground reserves by 10% in October as a further measure to head of the risk of further earthquakes.

NAM says the minister’s decision has cast doubt on the safety of company’s operations in Groningen and appears to go against the safety standards agreed in 2016.

‘NAM does not consider it to be acceptable that we are allowed to continue producing but that [the decision] implies there is no way of establishing if this meets safety standards,’ the company said. ‘That is why the NAM has asked the Council of State to rule on this point.’

‘We would also appeal if production was increased by 10%,’ NAM said.


Kamp said in April that he would further reduce the amount of gas produced in Groningen in line with recommendations made by the mining supervisory body SodM.

A spokesman for a group representing quake victims told local broadcaster RTV Noord: ‘It is all about producing gas. We already knew that and this confirms it.’

‘You can’t get round the fact. The less gas you take out, the safer it is. They suggest this is about safety that is not the case because they are protesting about the 10% reduction.’

Some 75,000 complaints have been made about damage caused by earthquakes and the bill for research, shoring up property and damages claims has reached an estimated €1.3bn so far.

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