Chance of heavier earthquakes
The earthquakes in Groningen can become more powerful than they have been until now. The authorities concerned, don't rule out the possibility of earthquakes with a magnitude between 4.5 and 6.0 on the Richter scale, in the future. Email communications between the Dutch Petroleum Company (NAM), the State Supervision of Mines (SODM), and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, revealed to NOS that they count on heavier earthquakes. However, nothing is certain, because it depends on the amount of gas, removed from the Groningen field.
SODM advised Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs in January, to decrease gas extraction as soon as realistically possible. The authorities involved, discussed that option after the earthquake in Huizinge in August last year.
That quake had a force of 3.6 on the Richter scale. Until then, 3.9 on the Richter scale was the most that was taken into account.
President Wim Meijer from the committee that advises on regaining the trust of the population in Groningen in gas drilling, wants an investigation into the past decision-making. The NAM seems to have lacked transparency in the risks of earthquakes, according to Meijer.
From 2000, production increased gradually, as did the number of earthquakes. Since 2009, all parties recognize there is a correlation between gas drilling and the earthquakes.