Groningen facing stronger earthquakes as gas field empties: report
The province of Groningen will be hit hard with additional seismic activity hitting the gas fields by more and heavier earthquakes, according to a scientific report of Shell employees and NAM. Last week, the safety research council OVV said in a report that maximising profit was the main driver for the extraction of natural gas from underneath Groningen province and public safety took a back seat.
The province of Groningen will face more frequent and stronger earthquakes as the gas fields under the province empty, the AD reports on Tuesday.
The findings come in a scientific report from Shell and gas extraction company NAM and published in the the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth.
Parts of Groningen have for years been hit by earthquakes and there is mounting opposition to gas extraction in the province because of the damage to property. The quakes occur as the ground settles in areas where the gas has been removed.
Earlier this month, economic affairs minister Henk Kamp agreed to again reduce the volume of natural gas extracted, this time to 16.5 billion cubic metres in the first six months of this year.
For the report, researchers made an estimate of the risks of stronger earthquakes as the gas fields empty. Between now and 2023, there is a 50% risk of a much more powerful earthquake than the strongest so far, the researchers found. That centred on Huizinge in 2012 and reached 3.6 on the Richter scale.
There is also a 10% risk of earthquakes of 4.6 on the Richter scale.
According to NAM, the research confirms earlier findings. ‘We must take stronger earthquakes in the future into account,’ the NAM told the AD.
Last week, the safety research council OVV said in a report that maximising profit was the main driver for the extraction of natural gas from underneath Groningen province and public safety took a back seat.
EXTRACT FROM AN ARTICLE PUBLISHED BY DE TELEGRAAF (DUTCH)
The province of Groningen will be hit hard with additional seismic activity hitting the gas fields with more and heavier earthquakes, according to a scientific report of Shell employees and NAM.
The report was published recently in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth. Researchers made a calculation of the probability of heavy tremors through the depletion of the gas fields. Until 2023, there is a 50 percent chance of an earthquake that is quite stronger than the worst earthquake in Huizinge in 2012 (3.6 on the Richter scale). There is a 10 percent probability of earthquakes of 4.6 on the Richter scale.
Link to invaluable information setting out historical overview of gas exploitation in Groningen and the current controversy.
COMMENT RECEIVED FROM A REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR
Shell and NAM!!! NAM is spending big money on further research. And all this was predicted by a retired geologist from NAM (I believe) about a year ago. He simply extrapolated the frequency and magnitude of the quakes over time on a logarithmic scale. It was crystal clear the magnitude would increase. But he was poo-pood by Shell et all as being to alarmist. This is going to be extremely costly and drag on for years for Shell and Exxon.
Link to the article by a former NAM engineer Adriaan Houtenbos, published in the NRC in Oct 2013. It is in Dutch, but apparently he was completely right!