Friday 15 January 2021

Gas production at Loppersum halted following mine inspectors’ report

A condemned and shored-up cafe in Zeerijp. Photo: Graham Dockery

Gas production company NAM has stopped pumping natural gas from under the Groningen village of Loppersum and the surrounding area following advice from the state mines inspectorate on Thursday.

‘The equipment has been switched off,’ NAM, a joint venture between Shell and ExxonMobil said in a statement. Economic affairs minister Erik Wiebes had asked NAM to stop pumping gas from under the region, which was hit by a strong earthquake last month.

Production from the Loppersum site had already been cut back sharply in 2015.

NAM is also planning to stop production at the Eemskannal field because of the risk of quakes on the eastern flank of Groningen city itself.

Wiebes said on Thursday afternoon that he will follow the mining inspectorate’s advice to slash Groningen gas production ‘as soon as possible’.

‘We have to go back to 12 billion cubic metres and that is almost half,’ he said. ‘It will be an enormous social challenge.’ Wiebes said he would brief parliament at the end of March on how the plans to achieve the cutbacks.

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