Groningen gas production cut by over 7 pct in 2015

Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs announced on Tuesday that the Cabinet will further reduce the gas extraction in Groningen. A maximum of 39.4 billion cubic meters of gas may be extracted from the gas field in Groningen in 2015, previously it was 42.5 billion cubic meters. This is a reduction of about 7 percent.

This reduction means that the state coffers will receive 700 million euro less next year and 130 million euro less in 2016. Effort will also be put into strengthening homes in the earthquake area in the coming year. Three thousand houses will be strengthened in 2015 and another five thousand in 2016.

"Unrest prevails in Groningen as a result of the gas extraction. I take the concerns of the residents seriously and will continue to do whatever is necessary to increase their safety." said Kamp. The minister is following the advice of the regulator the State Supervision of Mines (SodM). The SodM advises less extraction of ga from the soil in the area of Hoogezand-Sappemeer. According to the SodM, the scaling back of the production in Loppersum this past year already caused less 'seismic activity'.

The SP, GroenLinks and ChristenUnie were disappointed with Kamp's decision. The parties state that Kamp is too concerned with the financial interests. According to them, the government should put the safety of the Groningen residents first.

According to Kamp, it is impossible to reduce the gas extraction further. "It must be recognized, because people should be able to heat their homes and cook." The Minister will go to the city of Groningen on Wednesday to discuss "the nature and extend of the problems there".

The PvdA and D66 responded enthusiastically to the government measure. The CDA is also pleased that the minister "finally brings the gas extraction further back and thus follows the advice of the SodM."