The oil giants made billions from the Dutch gas fields that caused the earthquakes
Shell, ExxonMobil and the Dutch government made €429bn from the Groningen gas field but left thousands of residents with cracked homes and health problems, a parliamentary inquiry has found.
Geological destabilization caused by drilling in Groningen, Europe’s largest natural gas reserve, led to 1,594 earthquakes and damaged more than 85,000 buildings. parliamentary report closed on Friday.
The profit attributed to the two energy industry giants was 66 billion euros, while the biggest beneficiary of the extraction was the Dutch treasury, which earned 363 billion euros in revenue over the past 60 years.
“The government and corporations made a lot of money, but they ignored the signs that there was a causal relationship between gas extraction and earthquakes, and when that relationship was established, they underestimated the severity of the earthquakes,” Tom said. there is der Lee, the green politician leading the investigation, told the Financial Times.
“This is a slow-onset disaster. . . The impacts are quite large, but because our government can’t act against it, those affected wait and wait for years and cannot move on with their lives.”
Groningen does not lie on a tectonic rift, but drilling has produced earthquakes measuring 3.9 on the Richter scale. At this level, they are usually considered mild tremors.
However, due to the nature of the extraction, the tremors were much closer to the surface than natural tremors, so they would have been of magnitude 5 or higher – which is closer to the tremors felt in Turkey in recent weeks.
According to the report, more than 11,880 buildings still need to be made safe.
Van der Lee said that €10 billion was spent on compensating residents and strengthening buildings, but for every €1, €70 billion was spent on bureaucracy.
Residents suffered from insomnia and palpitations, while one research report noted that those who lived near the quakes were at risk of early death.
Groningen has around 450 billion cubic meters of recoverable gas, almost three times what the EU imported from Russia before the invasion of Ukraine.
The drop in Russian gas flows has put pressure on Dutch authorities to keep Groningen open as EU member states rush to provide alternative supplies.
Still, the Netherlands in October capped Groningen production for the year at 2.8 billion cubic meters — down from 42.5 billion cubic meters in 2014 — and announced it would end production this year. A decision on the extension of production will be made in June following the discussion of the report’s conclusions.
Marjan van Loon, CEO of Shell Netherlands, said: “The people of Groningen have borne most of the burden of gas production and seen only a small part of the benefits.”
He added that all parties “including Shell did not listen carefully enough to the people of Groningen when they expressed their concerns about the damage to their homes and the safety risks of gas production. . . we have to learn important lessons here”.
Exxon said it was “fully cooperating” with the investigation and that it “has taken time to analyze the full report and its recommendations.” “We hope the report sheds light on the Groningen region and its people.”
Dutch Mining Minister Hans Vijlbrief said: “The people of Groningen were always right about the consequences of gas extraction. Acknowledging their suffering is the most important thing today.”