Dutch petroleum giant appeals against gas drilling reduction in Groningen

. ()

Dutch oil and gas giant NAM is appealing to the Council of State against Minister Henk Kamp's decision to further reduce gas extraction in earthquake plagued Groningen. According to NAM, the Economic Affairs Minister ignored the already established safety standard for gas extraction in the province when making his decision, NU.nl reports. 

In April Kamp decided to reduce gas extraction in the province by a further 10 percent as of October 1st. That brings extraction down to 21.6 billion cubic meters per year. This decision was made based on advice from the State Supervision of Mines, which said that this reduction was the only way to reduce the chance of earthquakes, both in number and severity.

"A safety standard for seismic risk has been established, but this does not seem to be applied in the decision now made", NAM said on Wednesday, according to the newspaper. Kamp's decision states that there is no model that can predict at what level of production the risks of earthquakes correspond with the safety standards. But according to NAM, this is not true. "These statements go against the government-approved Extraction Plan, to which the best scientists contributed", CEO Gerard Schotman said. 

NAM is therefore appealing against the reduction, to get clear guidelines on safety in Groningen, the company said. The Council of State will consider the appeal on July 13th and 14th.

Over the past years Groningen was hit by numerous earthquakes caused by gas extraction in the province. These earthquakes cause damages, stress and sleepless nights, the residents of Groningen say. They would prefer that no more gas be extracted from the province.