How big are the problems and pains in Groningen due to gas extraction in that province? And what has gas extraction meant for the Netherlands? These questions are central in the first week of the public hearings in the Folketing’s inquiry committee. The next twelve people are being questioned.
Monday, June 27: victims speak
On the first day of the public hearings, the victims will first state their opinion: Herman de Muinck and Sijbrand Nijhoff†
Nijhoff is one of Groningen’s galleon figures due to the lawsuit he filed against NAM and the state. He would use it to recover his earthquake damage. Nijhoff also announced a secret agreement from 1963 in 2018.
The afternoon is Susan Top trip. She was secretary of the Groningen Gas Council from 2015 to 2021. This is a collective of social organizations that stand up for the interests of the inhabitants.
Tuesday, June 28: Science Day
On the second day, a number of scientists who have already researched the relationship between earthquakes and gas extraction in the 1990s will have their say. What signals did they give then, and what was done with them?
Hans de Waal (Shell researcher from 1977 to 2002) has since 2009 worked for the State Inspectorate of Mines (SodM). In addition, he was a senior consultant at Geo-Engineering from 2009 to 2016.
Hans Rust worked until 2001 as a scientist and lecturer at TU Delft. He currently works at SodM, among others.
Peter van der Gaag is a geologist and co-founder of the Independent Geologists Platform. This platform was founded in 1993. The researchers strongly criticized NAM and Shell and stated that there was no independent knowledge about the deep subsoil in the Netherlands.
Wednesday, June 29: What did the cooperation between the state and the oil companies look like?
On Wednesday, only two people will be questioned. First is the trip George Hide† He was a policy officer in the Ministry of Economy from 1974 to 1988 and Director General of Energy from 1982 to 1988. Verberg also held a senior position in Gasunie (1988-1992) and was subsequently CEO for 12 years.
After lunch, the interrogation will take place Annemarie Jorritsma planned. She was Minister of Economic Affairs from 1998 to 2002. During this period, the liberalization of the energy market took place at European level. As a result, sales and transportation activities were separated in 2005. This division would create more room for competition and fair prices.
The talks with Jorritsma and Verberg will map the cooperation between the state and the oil companies.
Thursday, June 30: NAM vs. Shell
On day four, the committee of inquiry wants to clarify the relationship between NAM and Shell. Who really decides how much gas is extracted? The committee members also want to know what the companies’ relationship with the Ministry of Finance is.
To answer these questions come Pieter Dekker (Vice President Joint Venture Governance at Shell, 1997-2016) and Johan de Haan (worked at NAM in various positions from 2004 to 2019) to the boarding house in The Hague, where the interrogations are held.
- NAM: the operator of the gas field. Shell and ExxonMobil are shareholders (both 50 percent).
- Shell and ExxonMobil: oil companies with an interest in NAM.
- Maatschap Groningen: partnership between NAM (60 percent) and Energie Beheer Nederland (EBN, 40 percent). Both have equal influence and implement gas extraction policy.
- EBN (formerly De Staatsmijnen and DSM): independent entrepreneur with the state as sole shareholder.
- Minister of Economic Affairs (EZ): competent authority on extraction; issuing permit.
Friday, July 1: attention to the state of mind of the sprouts
Finally, in the first week of the hearing, special attention is drawn to the “deep scars that the people of Groningen have suffered”, as committee chairman Tom van der Lee said at the press presentation.
Tom Postmes (Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Groningen) and victim Annemarie Heite will tell how solvable physical injuries resulted in frustration, insecurity and mental injuries.