A brief outline is given of the advantages of having an independent scrutinizing committee for environmental impact assessments with example the Groningen gas field in the Netherlands. The exploitation of the Groningen gas field causes and caused differential compaction of the reservoir leading to earthquakes along faults. The many small earthquakes cause serious damage in older houses and structures in Groningen of which many are regarded as valuable historical landmarks. The combination of minor but relatively shallow earthquakes, soft soil, creep effects in the soil, poor foundations, and very vulnerable houses and structures cause many houses and structures to disintegrate due to “loss of structure”. In particular, brick houses with old and weathered cement are susceptible. That earthquakes due to gas exploitation are the cause took many years by the government to acknowledge even when the population of Groningen was already convinced of the cause for years and years after scientific proof that earthquakes can be caused by the gas exploitation. The long discussions and denial by the authorities has eroded the trust of the population in the government and in experts. Political pressure now has become such that gas production likely has to cease sooner than expected and long before the gas in the field is depleted. Apart from the lost revenues also the repairs of the houses and structures will cost billions. A scrutinizing committee that had evaluated the environmental impact on forehand before gas exploitation commenced could probably have avoided this scenario by enforcing different production plans avoiding large differential compaction.
|Number of pages||85|
|Publication status||Published - 19 Mar 2019|
- oil and gas production
- Environmental impact