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Dutch prosecutors investigate whether small gas fields exceed output limits

AMSTERDAM, July 12 (Reuters) – Dutch prosecutors said on Friday they were investigating whether producers at some of the country’s small gas fields had exceeded the amount they were licensed to produce.

Gas production limits have become a sensitive issue in the Netherlands as the country tries to reduce production at its large Groningen gas field that has caused damaging earthquakes.

Prosecution spokeswoman Marieke van der Moolen confirmed a report by regional broadcaster RTV Drente that investigations in several locations were ongoing and were taking place in collaboration with the country’s State Supervisor of Mines.

But she declined to say which locations were involved or which producers might have exceeded limits.

NAM NV, the joint venture between Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil that operates the Groningen and other fields, said in a statement on Friday that production at smaller fields generally started at its maximum level and fell over several years until output dwindled and was halted.

(Reporting by Toby Sterling Editing by Edmund Blair)

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