According to Dagblad van het Noorden, on the same day that the national government announced that Groningen gas extraction would end in 2030, plans to begin fracking in the Pieterzijl-Oost gas field were also made known.
By Traci White
In February, Dutch minister of economic affairs Eric Wiebes announced that shale gas extraction would no longer be permitted in the Netherlands. Although gas extraction operations in the province of Groningen are well known, it is less common knowledge that fracking has been conducted in multiple Dutch provinces for decades.
Yet earlier this week, the ministry of economic affairs stated its intention to approve of fracking operations by NAM in Pieterzijl-Oost, which borders Groningen and Friesland. According to the Friesch Dagblad, the area between Warfstermolen, Munnekezijl and Pieterzijlcontains 250 million cubic meters of natural gas.
Despite provincial protests last year, the municipalities of Zuidhorn and Kollumerdam are moving forward with the plans. The ministry referred to a report from the Dutch National Mines Inspectorate from several years ago which stated that fracking operations do not pose any threat to the environment or health of residents. NAM must submit a risk management plan 12 weeks before fracking operations begin.
Shale gas extraction is typically carried out through hydraulic fracking: a mixture of water, chemicals and ceramic granules is pumped into the shale to break it up and dislodge gas trapped inside.
Seismic activity has been associated with pumping the wastewater from fracking into underground wells in the United States and Great Britain, but fracking has not been connected to induced quakes in the Netherlands.