Shell and ExxonMobil, as well as the Dutch government, ignored for decades that drilling in Europe’s largest gas field was causing earthquakes that put human lives and property at risk. That’s the takeaway of a new report out this week from an independent group advising the Dutch government.
As the natural gas beneath the Netherlands has dwindled in recent years, residents of Groningen County have experienced an increasing number of earthquakes. Last year, the area was hit with 84. The New York Times summarized what’s going on in a feature last summer:
A half-century of extraction has reduced the field’s natural pressure in recent years, and seismic shifts from geological settling have set off increasingly frequent earthquakes — more than 120 last year, and at least 40 this year. Though most of the tremors have been small, and resulted in no reported deaths or serious injuries, they have caused…
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