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Three earthquakes in one day in Groningen

Three earthquakes occurred in the province of Groningen on Monday. Near the village of Zeerijp, the third earthquake with a magnitude of 2.2 was measured by the KNMI around a quarter to eleven. Around five o’clock in the morning an earthquake with a magnitude of 2.5 had already occurred in the same village, in the afternoon a shock with a magnitude of 1.8 followed at Appingedam, ten kilometers away. The earthquakes are the result of gas extraction in the area.

Also read: On to the first winter with insufficient gas reserves

The epicenter of the three earthquakes was at a depth of three kilometers. This is shallow for earthquakes, so they are well felt by residents. In the past, such earthquakes could damage buildings in Groningen. It is not yet clear how much damage was caused by Monday’s earthquakes. According to a spokesperson, the claims counter of the Groningen Mining Damage Institute (IMG) has not received a noticeable increase in reports until Tuesday morning. Normally, the IMG receives about sixty damage reports a day, of which it is not always possible to say whether these have also occurred recently.

Gas extraction in Groningen has been gradually phased out in recent years. 2021-2022 should be the last ‘regular gas year’. Minister Stef Blok (Economic Affairs and Climate, VVD) announced at the end of September that NAM may still extract 3.9 billion cubic meters of gas this year. After that, the Groningen gas field will only be used as a reserve option. At the moment, the Dutch natural gas reserves are lower than ever, which means that in the event of a severe winter, the Groningen field may have to be resorted to to guarantee security of supply.

Schadeloket

In 2018, the IMG opened a claims counter to compensate residents for damage suffered and the fall in the value of their homes. Since then, 126,356 reports have been received here and to date 1.15 billion euros in damages have been awarded. In addition, more than 30,865 files are currently being processed.

In May, the Court of Audit labeled the ratio between the costs of hiring experts and the actual compensation as ‘disproportionately expensive’. For every euro of compensation paid, 56 eurocents are incurred in procedural costs.

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