Northern Holland has been suffering from the consequences of earthquakes for thirty years. People have to live in unsafe homes. He sleeps badly. “Grandparents cannot invite their grandchildren,” said Jan Wijboldus, president of the Groninger Gasprad Association.
Gas extraction in the province of Groningen began in the 1960s. The sound of unstable soil was heard at the end of the last century. In 2012, a 3.5-magnitude earthquake rocked the country and the patience of local residents. After that, the government decided that mining should be phased out. There are 26,000 damaged homes in the region, and the damages run into billions of euros. And it doesn’t just apply to housing.
Due to the consequences of the tremors, many shops and services were closed. But there is still 450 billion cubic meters of gas underground. Stocks equivalent to three times the annual imports from Russia to Europe. And so, with the crisis in mind, a troubling question arose: Can Groningen increase production? But council member Johan Hamster refuses.
“Earthquakes in Groningen occur close to the Earth’s surface and therefore have more serious consequences,” notes Hamster. It is likely that the largest deposit in Europe will remain the same. Currently, only the minimum amount of machinery required to operate mining machines is mined.
in case of emergency
“The deposit can be reopened in case of emergency, that is, at times when people in Germany, Estonia or other countries feel a lack of gas,” said Machell Mulder, an energy expert from the University of Groningen.
According to Jan, the locals agree to use local gas in the event of an acute shortage. “If somewhere in the Netherlands hospitals or nursing homes don’t have heating, it is possible to extract some gas here,” Wijboldus adds.
The study showed that thousands of people suffer from stress because the next trauma may deprive them of housing or their source of livelihood. But even if mining ends immediately, it will take at least ten years for the deposit to subside.
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