Due to the unfolding energy crisis, the cabinet should consider increasing the amount of gas it pumps from Groningen, David Smeulders, an engineering professor at Eindhoven University of Technology, told television talk show Op1 on Thursday evening. The plan to phase out gas extraction in the province is ‘old politics’, the specialist was quoted by RTV Noord as saying. “I think we should reconsider and open the Groningen gas tap further,” he told the program.
Draai de gaskraan in Groningen weer open, vindt hoogleraar David Smeulders. “Het is oude politiek. De wereld staat op zijn kop, dus ik denk dat we het Groningendossier ook op zijn kop moeten zetten.” #Op1 pic.twitter.com/AOt0UpSvWS
— Op1 (@op1npo) February 24, 2022
The government has reduced the amount of gas pumped from Groningen in recent years to minimize seismic risks in the region. Local residents, who suffered millions of euros in damage to their homes over the years, have lobbied hard for the end to gas extraction to ensure that the main cause of the earthquakes disappears.
The Eindhoven energy expert’s solution is to compensate the people of Groningen generously. “There is still 750 billion euros beneath the surface. If we were to compensate everyone with 100,000 euros, that would be a pittance. Even if everyone gets paid a million, there is still going to be a profit.”
The Ministry of Economic Affairs said earlier that the amount of gas to be pumped this year could double because of long-term contracts with neighboring Germany and construction delays on a Zuidbroek facility that would make imported gas suitable for use in the Netherlands.
Thousand of people living in the earthquake zone held a torch-lit protest in January, calling for the end to gas extraction in the province and swift compensation of all damages.