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.
Dutch petroleum company NAM has withdrawn from handling claims related to earthquake damage or any other problems caused by gas extraction in Groningen, RTV Noord reports based on sources within NAM.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.
Groningen residents are not only voting in the parliamentary elections today, they are also given the opportunity to sign a petition against gas drilling in the province. During the night, groups of volunteers hung posters at nearly all 406 polling stations in Groningen, calling on voters to sign a petition by Freek de Jonge, RTV Noord reports.
Dutch petroleum company NAM can be held liable for immaterial damage suffered by a number of Groningen earthquake victims, the court in Assen ruled on Wednesday. This immaterial damage includes physical symptoms like headaches as well as psychological problems like anxiety, NU.nl reports.
Dutch petroleum company NAM singed up with the Transition Coalition - a coalition of about 50 companies working to accelerate the Netherlands' transition to renewable energy sources, NAM director Gerald Schotman announced in his New Year speech, ANP reports.
"As far as I am concerned, the transition can, if not must, be more ambitious", Schotman said.
Seven farmers in the province of Groningen are filing a lawsuit against Dutch petroleum company NAM. They want more than 6 million euros in compensation for damage caused by gas drilling in the province, NOS reports.
Over the past months there have been numerous negotiations between NAM and the farmers, but to no avail, according to the broadcaster. NAM is only willing to compensate a percentage of the damage amount. One farmer was offered 40 thousand euros in compensation, while he claimed 1.3 million euros.
A massive 90 percent of the money available for settling earthquake damage in Groningen is spent on inspections, experts and reports. Only 10 percent goes to actually repairing the damage caused by fracking earthquakes, the Volkskrant reported on Friday based on the latest quarterly report by Hans Alders, the National Coordinator for Groningen.
Dutch oil company NAM is scrapping 400 of its 2,200 jobs this year, a spokesperson for the company confirmed on Tuesday. All leaving employees are making use of a voluntary redundancy scheme
The Dutch state is also "fully liable" for damage caused by gas extraction earthquakes in Groningen, the court in Assen ruled
Scientists at TU Delft sharply criticized the conclusions of a study into the risk of earthquake damage to homes and buildings on the edge of the Groningen gas field. The scientists found that the number of buildings examined in the study was too small to make a general statement or draw a conclusion
The province of Groningen, municipalities affected by fracking earthquakes, water boards and the local safety office are all calling on the Dutch government to reduce gas extraction in the province even further to prevent more earthquakes.
Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs and Employment believes a large earthquake-proofing operation to homes and buildings in Groningen can create thousands of new jobs in the area. On Monday he visited the earthquake stricken area and signed an intention declaration stating that all parties used in the strengthening operations will be Groningen residents
Barring any extremely cold winters, gas company NAM will only be allowed to extract up to 24 billion cubic meters of natural gas in Groningen a year for the next five years, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs announced on Friday afternoon
Natural gas extraction in earthquake ridden Groningen may soon fall even further, to 25 billion cubic meters a year, the Telegraaf reports based on its own sources.
The Dutch government allocated 291 million euros for strengthening schools in Groningen to make them earthquake-proof, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs and Education Minister Jet Bussemaker and State Secretary Sander Dekker wrote to parliament on Monday
In 2005 the Ministry of Economic Affairs made secret deals with oil and gas companies Shell ad Exxon about gas extraction in Groningen. These agreements were never shared with parliament, broadcaster NOS reports based on documents retrieved with the Freedom of Information Act.
A lobbying document Shell caused some serious irritation among Dutch parliamentarians. The oil and gas giant writes that the reduction in gas extraction in Groningen threatens the "economic base" of the plan to strengthen homes in the earthquake zone. Unacceptable blackmail, according to SP province director Eelco Eikenaar.
The province of Groningen and 12 municipalities in the earthquake zone wants the government to cough up more money to deal with damages caused by gas-extraction earthquakes.
Dutch gas firm NAM made 10 million euro available for buying 50 unsaleable homes in the Groningen earthquake zone, Hans Alders, National Coordinator for Groningen, announced on Thursday
A new legislative amendment will shift the burden of proof on earthquake damage in Groningen from the residents to mining company NAM. This means that Groningen residents whose homes were damaged will soon no longer have to prove that the damage was caused by gas-extraction earthquakes, but NAM will have to prove that this is not the case.
Hans Alders, the National Coordinator Groningen, plans to appoint an arbitrator to have final say on contested earthquake damage claims on homes in the province. This arbitrator will work as a "traveling judge" that Groningen residents can call on if they are dissatisfied with the decision made on their claim after the inspection done by an expert and counter-expert.
The Center for Safe Housing (CVW) in Groningen said they received 347 damage reports after the 3.1-magnitude earthquake in Hellum, Groningen on Wednesday night. Of those, 63 are from Slochteren, a town roughly four kilometers south of the epicenter.
Cutbacks and reorganization in gas company Nederlandsche Aardolie Maatschappij will lead to 2 thousand layoffs next year, mostly in companies that work with NAM.