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    The Hague defends Groningen damage estimate (Update)


The Dutch government has greatly increased the sum that producer NAM must pay to settle earthquake damage claims.

by: William Powell

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The Hague defends Groningen damage estimate (Update)

(Adds comment from NAM in para 3)

Dutch economy ministry has said that it will defend the bill it has sent NAM for damages it alleges arose from gas production at the giant Groningen field.

It told NGW April 20: "NAM has agreed to pay all bills related to the earthquakes that are a result of gas production in Groningen. If there's disagreement over a bill, NAM can of course object and appeal. In such case, the government will defend its point of view up to the Council of State, the highest administrative court in The Netherlands."

NGW reported that NAM had queried a sharp increase in the earthquake damage bill. It asked the government March 31 to provide better substantiation for the costs charged, which have risen from  €3.5 ($4.2)bn-5.5bn ($4.1-6.5bn) in 2018 to €8.5bn. NAM told NGW April 21 that the situation remains unchanged since its March 31 statement.

It is the government that deals with all procedures relating to damage and building repairs, not the producer, a joint venture owned by Anglo-Dutch Shell and US ExxonMobil. 

The ministry said: "It has been of first importance to take NAM out of all procedures concerning damages and reinforcement of houses. This way, people in Groningen will not have to deal with NAM; the government does in their stead."