The directors of Dutch oil and gas giant NAM may face up to 15 years in prison should the company end up being prosecuted for earthquake damage to houses in Groningen, according to well-known Dutch lawyer Gerard Spong.
The Public Prosecutor must investigate whether NAM was guilty of damaging housing, possibly creating life threatening situations, in the gas extraction area in Groningen, the Arnhem-Leeuwarden court ruled on Thursday, NOS reports.
The case was filed by the Groninger Bodem Beweging (GBB) an a number of individuals from the gas extraction area. The Groningen residents say they are dealing with, in some cases severe, damage to their homes caused by earthquakes that resulted from years of gas extraction.
The Dutch government is reducing gas extraction in Groningen by a further 10 percent based on advice from the State supervision on mines SodM that this is the only way to reduce the chance of heavy earthquakes in the region, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs announced on Tuesday. This year 24 billion cubic meters of gas can be extracted in Groningen, as of October 1st that will be reduced to 21.6 billion cubic meters, NU.nl reports.
Dutch petroleum company NAM has withdrawn from handling claims related to earthquake damage or any other problems caused by gas extraction in Groningen, RTV Noord reports based on sources within NAM. This follows a report the Dutch Safety Board published on Thursday which states that the Dutch government should be responsible for handling Groningen fracking damage claims, not NAM, NU.nl reports.
The eastern part of Groningen was woken up by an earthquake on Tuesday night. The earthquake happened around 10:30 p.m. and had a magnitude of 2.5 on the Richter scale, according to meteorological institute KNMI.