State mining supervisor wants to halt gas extraction in Groningen
It is "really very undesirable" to extract more natural gas in Groningen, said Theodor Kockelkoren, inspector-general with the State Supervision of Mines (SodM), on Sunday's episode of Pointer.
Gas extraction in Groningen has been causing earthquakes for years, damaging houses. Kockelkoren said in the broadcast that two things are necessary to improve safety in the area: “Reduce gas production to zero as quickly as possible, and strengthen the houses that need it. From my perspective on the safety of the people in Groningen, raising gas production now is really a bad idea."
In recent years, the previous Cabinet promised to reduce gas extraction in Groningen. However, a few days before his departure in January, outgoing Minister Stef Blok of Economic Affairs announced that almost twice as much gas as previously estimated would likely be extracted from Groningen this “gas year” (October 2021 to September 2022). During that period, production is expected to increase from 3.9 billion cubic meters up to 7.6 billion cubic meters. This is partially due to contracts with Germany.
Left-wing opposition parties in Parliament were especially critical of this news, with SP leader Lilian Marijnissen stating that it was clear why many citizens had lost confidence in politics.
"Because the government and politicians are not on their side,” she said. “Because the government is unreliable. Because the government keeps making false promises."
State Secretary Hans Vijlbrief, who is responsible for gas extraction in the new Cabinet, said on his first day that he wants to see what he can do to prevent the extra gas production. He has until April 1 to do so, at which point he must make a decision about the final extraction level.
Before then, the SodM must also issue new safety advice, which will come in March.
The State Secretary has until 1 April to do so. Then he has to make a decision about the final winning level. There must also be a new safety advice from the State Supervision before that date. That advice will come in March.
Reporting by ANP