Taxpayers pick up bigger bill than NAM for Groningen earthquakes

A gas drilling site. Photo: Graham Dockery

Most of the earthquake damage caused to property in the northern province of Groningen is paid for directly or indirectly by taxpayers, broadcaster NOS said on Tuesday.

So far, the state has put €750m into damage compensation and preventing further subsidence, while drilling company NAM has invested €422m, the broadcaster said, quoting economic affairs ministry figures.

The agreement made between the Dutch state and Shell and Exxon, which jointly own NAM, states that the government will pay 64% of the costs and the two oil firms 18% each.

The old protocol for organising damage claims was put on ice last year because NAM had a role in determining how the money should be spent. Officials have not yet finalised a new protocol, which prime minister Mark Rutte blamed last week on the lengthy coalition formation talks.

The lack of progress on compensation claims was one of the causes of local anger after last week’s quake which centred on the village of Zeerijp.

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