Saturday 28 November 2020

Gas firm NAM pulls out of Groningen quake damage assessment

A gas drilling site. Photo: Graham Dockery

Gas company NAM will no longer have a role in determining compensation payments for people whose property has been damaged by earthquakes in Groningen, local broadcaster RTV Noord said on Friday.

Thousands of homes and other buildings have been damaged by the ground settling following gas extraction by NAM, a 50:50 joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil.

Until now NAM has been closely involved in determining compensation payments, but locals and Groningen politicians say it should not have a role.

Local media say Hans Alders, who is national coordinator for quake damage, will now take over the compensation payments and is working on devising a new system, RTV Noord said.

On Thursday, the Dutch safety board issued a report saying that help for the quake victims in Groningen is spread over too many different organisations. It also said NAM should not have a role in determining compensation levels.

Claims

Just 10% of the money earmarked for earthquake damages claims in Groningen has been spent on mending cracks and shoring up buildings, the Volkskrant said last year.

Most of the money – nearly €23m in the past three months – was spent on inspections, experts, reports, second opinions and mediators, the paper said.

The paper based its claim on the most recent report by the official damage coordination body. It shows the average repair bill was €656 but that it cost €6,000 to process the claim.

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