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NAM Groningen: A Gas Cache, Now Under Shaky Ground

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 10.47.36Extract from a New York Times article by Stanley Reed published in print on 5 June 2014

LOPPERSUM, the Netherlands — Deep below the cow pastures and farming villages in this picturesque northeastern corner of the Netherlands lies an extraordinary resource: Europe’s largest source of natural gas, known as the Groningen gas field. But as it enters old age, Groningen has grown cranky. 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 widespread damage to buildings, endangered nearby dikes and frightened and angered local residents. In light of those problems, the Dutch government is now demanding that the field’s operator, *a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil, curtail production…

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*A gas production facility operated by Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij or NAM, a joint venture of Royal Dutch Shell and Exxon Mobil in Groningen Province in the Netherlands.

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