In 2013, after the heaviest earthquake in Groningen, more gas was deliberately sold than was necessary for security of supply. It was even ensured that the Groningen gas was mixed with other gas to make sure it found its way to the market. For Minister Kamp, this was a disturbing discovery, which he made about record production, he said before the parliamentary committee of inquiry into gas extraction.
That high production was decided by Shell and Exxon, owners of the NAM, but there were also representatives of the Ministry of Economic Affairs. “I found that disturbing and I still find that,” said Kamp, who was minister at that ministry at the time.
Kamp insisted that for a long time there was too little knowledge available to make a good decision about the level of gas extraction. According to him, there were fewer earthquakes in 2013 and he was unable to rely sufficiently on the knowledge of the State Mines Supervision. But contrary to what Kamp said, there were more quakes in 2013 than in the previous year.
Kamp became minister two months after the earthquake in Huizinge. When he took office, he had to rapidly update his knowledge about gas extraction. The structure in which agreements were made about natural gas extraction in Groningen (called the ‘gas building‘) was so complex that he had no clarity about it a year after taking office.
also lacked sufficient knowledge, he believed, to limit gas extraction immediately. He had been advised by his supervisor, the SoDm, after the heaviest earthquake so far in Groningen.