NAM wants less responsibility for consequences of Groningen gas extraction: report

Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017
Milieudefensie and Groningen residents dump fracking earthquake rubble in front of the Ministry of Economic Affairs in The Hague, 26 Oct 2017. Photo: @milieudefensie / Twitter

Dutch petroleum company NAM wants Minister Eric Wiebes of Economic Affairs to adjust the proposals for the new Mining and Gas Act so that the company is less responsible for the consequences of gas extraction in Groningen, such as damage caused by earthquakes, Trouw reports.

The proposals for the new law states that NAM will have hardly any influence on gas production in the province - the Minister will decide how much gas will be extracted. In a reaction to the proposals, NAM director Gerald Schotman wrote that less influence should also mean that his company is less liable, according to the newspaper. "Where NAM can exercise less control, it can also bear fewer responsibilities."

According to Schotman, NAM already has virtually no influence on the consequences of the quakes caused by gas extraction. If the new law is implemented, what little influence the company has also disappears. NAM should therefore only be responsible for "operational measures at its own production sites such as repairs", and not for measures that affect the quakes, he said. 

On Friday over 40 stakeholders criticized the bill because they were worried about liability in the future, according to NOS. According to the province of Groningen and the municipalities of Loppersum, Winsum, De Marne, Bedum and Eemsmond, the new law doesn't state who will be responsible for preventing and compensating damage caused by gas extraction. "It is stated that NAM is no longer liable for the damage caused. Striking is that the Minister is also not liable", the Groinger Gasberaad said, according to the broadcaster.

Herman Broring, professor of administrative law at the University of Groningen, also expressed concerns to RTV Noord. "The question now is what this means for the liability of NAM, the Minister and the State", he said. 

Tags: