On Tuesday King Willem-Alexander opened the Netherlands' parliamentary year with his traditional Budget Day speech. He talked about the devastation Hurricane Irma left of the Caribbean islands that form part of the Dutch Kingdom, terrorism around the world, the prosecution of those responsible for the MH17 disaster, and making sure that everyone in the Netherlands benefits from the improving economy, among other things.
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.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte is visiting Groningen next week Friday to discuss gas extraction and the problem the province has with fracking earthquakes. His schedule includes meetings with mayors, provincial managers, residents foundation Groninger Bodem Beweging and the Groninger Gasberaad, NU.nl reports.
Last year the Dutch government made 2.4 billion euros from natural gas extraction - almost 3 billion euros less than in 2015 and the lowest level since 1975, according to figures released by Statistics Netherlands on Wednesday.
The decrease can partly be attributed to decreased gas extraction due to the risk of earthquakes, according to the statistics office. Lower gas prices also played a role - last year the producer prices were halved compared to 2013.
Put environmental goals down in the law, reduce gas extraction in Groningen to almost zero, implement a road tax based on kilometers and emissions, ban the sale of fossil-fueled vehicles after 2025 and close all the coal plants in the Netherlands, the environmental committees of six political parties write in a proposal for the climate portion of the governance agreement, the Volkskrant reports.
The directors of Dutch oil and gas giant NAM may face up to 15 years in prison should the company end up being prosecuted for earthquake damage to houses in Groningen, according to well-known Dutch lawyer Gerard Spong.
The Dutch government is reducing gas extraction in Groningen by a further 10 percent based on advice from the State supervision on mines SodM that this is the only way to reduce the chance of heavy earthquakes in the region, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs announced on Tuesday. This year 24 billion cubic meters of gas can be extracted in Groningen, as of October 1st that will be reduced to 21.6 billion cubic meters, NU.nl reports.
Dutch petroleum company NAM has withdrawn from handling claims related to earthquake damage or any other problems caused by gas extraction in Groningen, RTV Noord reports based on sources within NAM. This follows a report the Dutch Safety Board published on Thursday which states that the Dutch government should be responsible for handling Groningen fracking damage claims, not NAM, NU.nl reports.
Groningen residents are not only voting in the parliamentary elections today, they are also given the opportunity to sign a petition against gas drilling in the province. During the night, groups of volunteers hung posters at nearly all 406 polling stations in Groningen, calling on voters to sign a petition by Freek de Jonge, RTV Noord reports.
Prime Minister Mark Rutte was barely able to get a word out on talk show Pauw en Jinek on Monday night because of a group of furious Groningen residents shouting and booing at him from the audience. They are furious about the VVD government's policy on gas production in their province, AD reports.
"Mr. Rutte drained us for six and a half years. And he is still doing it. He is depicted as a positive politician, an optimist. But you know what an optimist does? Laughs everying away, so he laughs away our problems", one angry audience member said.
Dutch petroleum company NAM can be held liable for immaterial damage suffered by a number of Groningen earthquake victims, the court in Assen ruled on Wednesday. This immaterial damage includes physical symptoms like headaches as well as psychological problems like anxiety, NU.nl reports.
Thousands of people participated in a torchlight march through the city of Groningen on Tuesday as a protest against the Dutch government's policy on gas extraction in the northern province. Organizers estimate that about 4,500 people joined the march. The protesters want gas extraction to be further reduced, preferably to zero, and earthquake damage to be compensated, NU.nl reports.
Gas extraction in Groningen will not be further reduced for the time being, the Council of State ruled in an emergency case filed by concerned local residents, GIC reports.
At this stage NAM is allowed to extract 24 billion cubic meters of natural gas from the Groningen gas flied per year.
Dutch oil company NAM is scrapping 400 of its 2,200 jobs this year, a spokesperson for the company confirmed on Tuesday. All leaving employees are making use of a voluntary redundancy scheme
The Dutch state is also "fully liable" for damage caused by gas extraction earthquakes in Groningen, the court in Assen ruled
Marjan van Loon, CEO of Shell Nederland, wants to use natural gas revenues from Groningen for a "delta plan" for the transition to green energy and for the local economy, she said in an Interview with the Financieele Dagblad. Though she adds that the Netherlands must continue gas extraction for as long as possible.
Scientists at TU Delft sharply criticized the conclusions of a study into the risk of earthquake damage to homes and buildings on the edge of the Groningen gas field. The scientists found that the number of buildings examined in the study was too small to make a general statement or draw a conclusion
The Dutch government again became poorer last year due to the declining value of oil- and gas reserves, Statistics Netherlands announced on Tuesday. According to their figures, the government's wealth (assets minus liabilities) dropped by 20 million euros last year. In 2014 it dropped by 60 million euros.
Minister Lodewijk Asscher of Social Affairs and Employment believes a large earthquake-proofing operation to homes and buildings in Groningen can create thousands of new jobs in the area. On Monday he visited the earthquake stricken area and signed an intention declaration stating that all parties used in the strengthening operations will be Groningen residents
The government will likely make a decision on the future of gas extraction in Groningen by Friday, Minister Henk Kamp of Economic Affairs said after a meeting in Groningen with local government and social organizations on Tuesday
Natural gas extraction in earthquake ridden Groningen may soon fall even further, to 25 billion cubic meters a year, the Telegraaf reports based on its own sources.
In 2005 the Ministry of Economic Affairs made secret deals with oil and gas companies Shell ad Exxon about gas extraction in Groningen. These agreements were never shared with parliament, broadcaster NOS reports based on documents retrieved with the Freedom of Information Act.