In August 2018, the NAM threatened to close the gas tap prematurely, as reported by RTV Noord. The story is apparently confirmed by a report of a conversation at the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate.
In the conversation NAM director Thijs Jurgen and a colleague spoke with four officials about liability for the consequences of gas extraction. The NAM wanted to get rid of that liability and refused to pay for the reinforcement of houses that would be safe according to the latest standards, but where commitments had already been made about the reinforcement.
Were the ministry to not transfer the liability to another party, the company said “the NAM will be forced to close the gas field sooner than what is practical for the Netherlands”, the report states.
Local drivers too critical
The report also reveals that NAM does not intend to extend its contract with Centrum Veilig Wonen in 2018, who are responsible for the reinforcement of houses. The NAM also appears to find local administrators too critical and the company does not seem to care about the reinforcement plans set in place by ministers.
Jurgens also didn’t want to pay pay for additional costs to build new, gasless homes. It is reported that the NAM thinks: “this is not part of the safety problem.” According to Jurgen in the report, the NAM will therefore not bear these costs.
Response from the NAM: We do not know the report, there are no threats from us
In a written response to questions from the Dagblad van het Noorden, NAM announced that it did not know about the report. “NAM has never received this report and does not know it. The context is therefore lacking in which the comments in the report were made. The issue of production reduction in the context of safety has often been discussed, as has also been the case in this consultation. This signal is no different than SSM, the Council of State and others had already delivered. The suggestion that this was used as a means of printing is incorrect.”