NAM warns of earthquake risks in new Overijssel gas extraction plans

Dutch oil and gas giant NAM warns that gas extraction in Hardenberg and its surrounds can cause subsidence, earthquakes and damages to buildings, De Stentor reports.

The NAM wants to keep extracting gas in the Hardenberg area for thirteen years longer than planned. The chances that these practices will cause ground vibrations are real, according to the company. In worst cases it could cause cracks in the nearby buildings.

According to NAM the quakes are kept weak by the stiff, sandy soil. Although the company admits the possibility exists that quakes may cause slight damage to the buildings near to the epicenter.

NAM plans introduce a new extraction method in the gas fields in Overijssel - a controversial hydraulic cracking-method to get gas out form the pores of the layers of sandstone, according to the newspaper.

Reports from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate show that NAM already started a procedure to change the current extraction plans, which would have expired in 2020.

The municipality of Hardenberg was caught off guard by De Stentor's report, a spokesperson said to the newspaper. "We know nothing about this." the spokesperson said. "We therefore don't have an opinion on it."

According to the municipality, local governments will have a chance to comment on the plans later in the procedure. Local residents will also be heard before the Minister makes a decision on NAM's extraction plans.