First week of public hearings of Groningen gas extraction committee concluded

June 30, 2022

The Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into Natural Gas Extraction in Groningen has concluded the first week of public hearings. The second interrogation period follows from Monday, August 29; last interrogation is Friday, October 14th.

Committee members: Stieneke van der Graaf (Christian Union), Barbara Kathmann (PvdA), Tom van der Lee (GroenLinks, chairman), Judith Tielen (VVD), Peter Kwint (SP) and Hülya Kat (D66). Anne Kuik (CDA) is not in the picture, she is on maternity leave.

The first week of questioning took place from Monday 27 June to Friday 1 July. This provided an overview of what gas extraction has meant for the Netherlands. The committee of inquiry interviewed twelve people about the nature, severity, extent and persistent problems in Groningen. During the second interrogation period, which starts on Monday 29 August, all aspects of gas extraction, damage and damage management as well as the reinforcement operation will be discussed in more detail. The committee will hear a total of 70 witnesses and experts.

  • See the interrogation plan for the first interrogation week and read more about Groningen’s parliamentary inquiry committee on natural gas extraction on the committee side. You can see all interrogations via this page.
  • See also the video where committee chairman Tom van der Lee explains the public hearings.

First week of interrogation

During the first week of questioning, experience with and factual knowledge about gas extraction was also discussed. Victims, scientists, leaders of Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM) and Shell, officials and former Minister Annemarie Jorritsma were questioned.

Different topics

The interrogation week started on Monday 27 June with the question: how extensive is the gas problem for the people of Groningen? On Tuesday, a number of scientists who had already in the 1990s researched the connection between gas extraction and earthquakes spoke. What signals did they give, and what was done with those signals? Wednesday was marked by cooperation between the Dutch state and the oil companies. What interests were at play and how was the interaction? On Thursday, the relationship between NAM as a producer of the gas and Shell as a shareholder in NAM was further investigated. Who actually determined how much gas is extracted? How was the relationship with the Ministry of Finance? On Friday, special attention was paid to the life and well-being of the people of Groningen.

Thorough examination

In almost sixty years, natural gas extraction has gone from a success story to a headache. Natural gas extraction has started to play an important role in the Dutch energy supply and has also generated a lot of extra revenue for the Netherlands. But the dark sides, the earthquakes and the many victims in Groningen now often dominate the picture. How did this come about? The Commission of Inquiry, set up on 9 February 2021, is conducting a thorough investigation of all these developments.

Truth finding and insight

The purpose of this committee is to find the truth and to gain insight into decision-making on natural gas extraction, claims settlement and reinforcement in Groningen. This makes it possible to form judgments over a period of sixty years and to gain experience. In this way, the committee’s work contributes to the future prospects of Groningen and the development of future policy.

What is a parliamentary inquiry?

A parliamentary inquiry is the heaviest investigative tool available to the House of Representatives if it wants to conduct its own inquiry. This makes it possible to request written information and documents from the organizations involved and to hear witnesses and experts under oath. Persons convened by the committee must attend.

Follow or attend hearings live

The public hearings take place in the Examination Chamber of the Representatives. All hearings can be followed via the livestream on this website and the Debate Direct app. The hearings are open to the public. You need to sign up for this. The registration form will soon be available on this website. The entrance to the Survey Room is at 1 Lange Houtstraat in The Hague.

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