Working for solutions in Groningen

The Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V. joint venture operates the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands. Regrettably, production from the Groningen field has caused earthquakes. Some of these earthquakes have damaged homes and buildings, and caused worry for the people of Groningen.

Since 1963, the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij B.V. (NAM) joint venture (Shell interest 50%) in partnership with the Dutch government, has operated the Groningen gas field, one of the world's largest onshore gas fields.

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs has limited gas production in Groningen significantly since 2014 in response to earthquakes caused by extraction. Various other measures have been taken to reduce the social impacts, including improving the way damage claims are handled as part of the programme to repair and strengthen houses and local primary schools and launching socio-economic development programmes. Production limits are set in areas where earthquakes cause the greatest damage and highest social impacts.

Different role for NAM

In 2017, NAM's role in handling damage claims and the building strengthening programme was handed over to the National Coordinator Groningen. This was an important step to improve credibility and restore trust in the region. NAM remains liable for any damage or loss directly caused by these induced earthquakes. NAM continues to work to rebuild relationships with the people of Groningen, for instance through open and honest face-to-face conversations.

Improving perspective

Since 2014, NAM has taken steps to help improve the situation in Groningen, including investing in the NAM Livability and Sustainability programme and on a personal level through conversations with members of the community. With this programme, NAM supports local initiatives, often co-financed by other parties and the local communities, in order to build relationships in areas where NAM has had a long-term presence. This is important as scientific research shows that social cohesion positively contributes to the community's resiliance and its ability to deal with the impact of earthquakes.

The programme has provided financial support for around 200 local initiatives to strengthen structures affected by earthquakes. This includes providing support for houses and improving the running costs of sports facilities by installing solar panels.