NAM withdraws from handling Groningen earthquake damage claims after Safety Board report

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Dutch petroleum company NAM has withdrawn from handling claims related to earthquake damage or any other problems caused by gas extraction in Groningen, RTV Noord reports based on sources within NAM.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.

In its report the Dutch Safety Board writes that the settlement of damage claims in Groningen "can and must" be better and faster. According to the report, the decision making process on gas extraction problems is too fragmented and the Dutch government should take the process into its own hands. "There is no room for interference by NAM", the Board writes. "The current approach does no justice to the scale, complexity and urgency of problems in Groningen."

The Safety Board specifically mentioned the settlement of damage claims for people living in Groningen. "Residents are now faced with a multitude of arrangements with a highly bureaucratic and legally designed process."

NAM now decided to withdraw completely from the process, according to RTV Noord. The National Coordinator for Groningen Hans Alders will take over NAM's role, the broadcaster reports.

A spokesperson for Alders would not confirm this to NU.nl. Alders will release a statement at 1:00 p.m. and NAM will hold a press conference at noon.

On Thursday a spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Affairs said to NU.nl that the Ministry agrees with the Safety Board's conclusions that damage claims in Groningen can be handled better and faster. "We are therefore currently in intensive consultations on a new setup for claim handling, without the NAM", the spokesperson said. 

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