Dutch province hit by earthquake blamed on decades of gas extraction

  22 May 2019    Read: 1721
Dutch province hit by earthquake blamed on decades of gas extraction

A magnitude 3.4 earthquake has hit the northern Dutch province of Groningen, the latest in a series of tremors blamed on decades of gas extraction.

The country’s meteorological institute said the quake near the village of Westerwijtwerd was one of the most powerful to ever hit the Netherlands.

There were no immediate reports of any injuries.

The lucrative Groningen gas field is one of the world’s largest natural gas reserves, but quakes caused by extraction have damaged thousands of homes.

Six earthquakes have struck the gas field so far this year. In 2018, there were 15 tremors.

The Dutch government has already cut gas extraction in the region and said last year it must be halved by 2022 or earlier, with more cuts later leading to “zero” extraction.

Natural gas is typically extracted through drilling - rather than hydraulic fracturing (fracking) - and can cause earthquakes as the ground settles.

 

The Independent


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