Amazement and anger about extra gas extraction: ‘Ministerie plays with safety Groningen ‘

In the province of Groningen, there has been a shock response to the news that more gas may need to be extracted this year than is planned. โ€œThis is a slap in the face of our inhabitants.โ€

According to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, more gas is needed to meet the energy needs in Germany, because energy-saving measures are less effective there than expected. The Germans have indicated that they need 1.1 billion kuub of extra gas.

This gas year, which began last October and ends in September, would only be 3.9 billion kuub from the Groningen soil. This will be a maximum of 7.6 billion kuub, provided it does not get extremely cold. Before 1 April, the new minister will take a final decision.

โ€œThis is a slap in the face of our residents,โ€ says deputy Tjeerd van Dekken on behalf of the provincial government against RTV Noord. โ€œThis is an unacceptable situation. Apparently, Germany is short of gas and that has to be sold at the expense of Groningen.โ€

The fact that an additional gas demand from Germany is part of the reason to open the gas crane in Groningen further leads to a surprise, according to the deputy at the provincial house. โ€œFor the delayed delivery of the nitrogen factory at Zuidbroek, I can still gain understanding due to corona,โ€ says Van Dekken. โ€œBut I didn‘t know the Germany argument and I don’t think the House of Representatives either.โ€

He finds the situation unacceptable. โ€œThis is about the safety of our residents. We have tremors that do not pass for the time being and the more gas extraction there is, the longer the quakes stay.โ€

Groningers live in uncertainty

The Groninger Soil Movement (GBB) also finds it incomprehensible that the gas tap is further opened. โ€œA government cannot and cannot handle the safety of its citizens so frivolously,โ€ says the interest group.

Last year, there were more severe tremors than expected, recalls the GBB. โ€œWe can conclude that Groningen is still not safe. Far from it. At the moment, more than 90 percent of all houses have not even been assessed for safety yet – the reinforcement operation is lagging behind enormously.โ€

The GBB wonders what extracting the extra gas means for the final closing of the gas tap. โ€œAs a result, Groningen live in uncertainty and are apprehensive about their future. The GBB has been advocating for a long time to have the end of gas extraction legally fixed, precisely to prevent these kinds of unjust situations.โ€

History Repeats

Jan Wigboldus, chairman of the Groningen Gasberaad, is not surprised by the news. โ€œIt‘s not the first time we’ve had to take a disappointment.โ€ History repeats itself, he says. โ€œAgain and again, Groningers are disappointed. You could just see this coming.โ€

Wigboldus says to hold his heart. โ€œThis is just a prediction, imagine that a very cold February month will be over. Then more has to be won.โ€

Misery is enormous

MPs are also responding to the news on social media indignation. โ€œVery painful for the Groningers. Promises have not been fulfilled too often,โ€ says D66 MP Raoul Boucke. โ€œThe cabinet must do everything in its power to prevent more gas extraction in Groningen from being needed. Among other things, investigate the possibilities to import nitrogen as long as the factory is not open.โ€

GroenLinks MP Suzanne Krรถger refers to the title of the new coalition agreement: โ€œHow many weeks old is ‘turning to each other’ again?โ€ PvdA MP Henk Nijboer asks: โ€œHow is this possible? The misery in Groningen is enormous. The cabinet let the agreements with Germany run its course. Worthless. The new Secretary of State Vijlbrief has a lot to explain and must act immediately. This is unacceptable.โ€

SP MP Sandra Beckerman calls it extra painful that the cabinet says nothing about what they will do for Groningen in the Letter of Parliament about the higher gas extraction. โ€œNot one word about damage handling, not a word about reinforcement, not a word about compensation.โ€ She finds it painful that the gas tap has to open in order to deliver to Germany.

Gas extraction has led to earthquakes and damage to homes in the area. Why those earthquakes occur, explains CCeit at 3 in this video: