This is what Johan Atema, director of NAM, says in conversation with NRC. According to him, the chance that the area will still be hit by a major earthquake is very small. The independent supervisor State Supervision of Mines estimates the chance of a quake of 3.6 or higher at approximately 5 percent. If the gas tap is closed next year, that chance will be even smaller.
In North Groningen, 26,000 homes were originally supposed to be reinforced, so that residents can safely leave their homes in the event of a quake. The operation has so far been difficult: only 2,000 houses have been reinforced. Half of the 26,000 homes have yet to be assessed, but according to Atema this is no longer necessary. “That reinforcement operation is no longer necessary.”
According to the Ministries of Economic Affairs and Climate and the Interior and Kingdom Relations, this conclusion is premature. The houses must first be assessed, according to the ministries. This is done on the basis of stricter, more stringent reinforcement standards.
There is a chance that many residents will choose not to have their home reinforced, because they will receive 30,000 euros regardless of the outcome.
The NAM does not decide on the possible reinforcement of homes, but it does pay for the costs, just as it has to pay for the damage caused to houses by gas extraction. Last year, the bill for NAM was 1 billion euros, and thousands of euros worth of damage reports are added every week.
According to NAM, this is not justified, for example because some claims would not come from the earthquake zone. “I do not think it is right that we have to pay for damage in North Drenthe.” Society and the cabinet have been in conflict for a long time about compensation for the damage.