Article by Keith Findlay published 11 March 2015 by EnergyVoice.com
Dutch communities rattled by earthquakes are upending Europe’s energy market.
Towns in the northern province of Groningen sit atop the continent’s biggest gas field, where the Dutch government says exploration by oil and gas majors Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil has triggered 196 earthquakes since 2013, damaging buildings and making home sales difficult.
Lawmakers, seeking support in provincial elections next week, have responded to residents’ complaints with a proposed cut in gas production – the second since December – in the hope that less output means fewer tremors.
The reductions would put the European Union in a predicament. Countries may have to turn to Russia to replace Dutch gas at a time when they’re trying to isolate President Vladimir Putin for his involvement in Ukraine.