NAM disputes Groningen gas extraction earthquake damage claims
NAM, the Dutch gas concern responsible for gas extraction in Groningen, raised doubts about the level of damage claims and the home strengthening operation in the fracking earthquake zone in the province. In a statement, NAM said that a major part of the damages was wrongly attributed to earthquakes, and that the standards of the reinforcement project are far too strict, NOS reports.
According to NAM, the risks in the earthquake zone are grossly overestimated, and as a result, many homes will be reinforced with measures that far outweigh the risks, "for some buildings even by a factor of a thousand to ten thousand". "This leads to unnecessary feelings of insecurity among residents and additional costs."
It is not only the costs of the reinforcement project that NAM has doubts about, but also the costs of repairing damages. According to NAM, the vibration level used to assess whether an earthquake caused damage is far too low. "Everyone understands that no damage is caused by the slamming of a door or a truck passing by," the company said. But that is the standard used for damage calculations, according to NAM. "We believe that thousands of damages are falsely attributed to earthquakes because of this."
NAM said that it is not disputing about the necessity of reinforcement and repair costs, but believes that "the costs resulting from measures that can no longer be attributed to gas extraction and earthquakes and cannot be passed on to NAM."
The Ministry of Economic Affairs expects that this dispute with NAM will end up in court, departing Minister Bas van 't Wout said in a letter to parliament. "The cabinet is preparing for this and will not leave any legal means unused," he said. "I will strictly ensure that all costs that can be charged to NAM will be charged." Costs not charged to NAM, will be borne by the State, he said.
Van 't Wout also said that the costs surrounding the fracking earthquakes continue to rise. The initial estimates said that damage repair, reinforcement and implementation costs would amount to a maximum of 5.5 billion euros. Van 't Wout thinks around 8.5 billion euros were spent on this so far.