Earthquakes from onshore gas drilling threaten a disaster, warn residents of Dutch city, Residents of the Dutch city of Groningen are up in arms over onshore gas drilling that has triggered earthquakes, damaging homes and sending property prices crashing by Bruno Waterfield, July 5, 2013, The Telegraph
The last tremor, registering 3.0 on the Richter scale, hit the nearby village of Garrelsweer late on Tuesday night and rocked a dyke holding back the North Sea – fuelling fears that gas extraction could lead to major earthquake disaster in Holland. “It was like a tractor crashing into my house,” said Elly Broekmans, who suffered extensive damage to her property including widening cracks in structural walls. The government and the consortium responsible for the drilling concede that the earthquakes are caused by the extraction of natural gas from shale rocks deep below the Groningen region, where there are up 1,800 natural faults in the porous Rotliegend sandstone subsurface. While not the same process of extraction as “fracking”, the developments in Groningen and surrounding towns will alarm Britons living over the huge Bowland Basin shale gas reserve, which stretches under Cheshire, Lancashire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Yorkshire.
The tremors of Tuesday night’s earthquake were measured by sensors on the Lauwersmeer Dijk, a dyke holding back the sea at a national park 25 miles away, an event that alarmed the Dutch StabiAlert company that monitors local sea defences for subsidence. According to the company the earthquake’s impact was similar to truck loaded with 70 tons of rocks driving over the Lauwersmeer embankment – raising fears of a possible flooding disaster if dykes nearer to the epicentre of a tremor are breached. “What happens to dikes that are lying much closer to an epicentre?,” asked Reinier Brongers of StabiAlert. The fears of residents have not been assuaged by comments from Chiel Seinen, the spokesman for the Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij (NAM), a gas consortium including Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Exxon Mobil Corp, who conceded that people’s lives might be in danger. “You can never exclude anything if people are in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he told the BBC last month.
The Groningen gas field is the largest natural gas field in Europe. While it has been exploited for almost 50 years, earthquakes are now becoming more frequent, averaging one a week, compared to fewer than 20 a year before 2011. As the earthquakes become more intense and more frequent the government faces growing local pressure to reduce drilling. But it has little room to manoeuvre, other than offering compensation, because of the gas field’s importance to the Dutch economy. Last year, the Dutch state made £12 billion in government revenues from the Groningen gas fields and if the cash flow was switched off the country would quickly go bankrupt. Residents fear that their wellbeing is being sacrificed. Up to 60 per cent of the 60,000 homeowners in the Groningen region have experienced earthquake damage to their homes and a local anti-drilling activist group,De Groninger Bodem Beweging (GBB) or Groningen Ground Movement, has complained that many houses have become unsellable. “Many people feel they have become prisoners in their homes. They can’t move,” said Daniella Blanken, the GBB spokesman. [Emphasis added]
Manifesto: shale gas is not for Netherlands by Gerard Driehuis, June 23, 2013, WEL.NL
55 professors signed this manifesto that explains why shale gas for Netherlands is a bad idea Shale gas is now a ‘game changer’, a ‘global revolution’ unleashes, or is it mostly hype? Who soberly weigh the pros and cons against each other, finds that a high incidence of hype, which is not really interesting for Europe and for the Netherlands not at all.
However, the downside of shale gas in the U.S. is also becoming clearer. Experts warn that the current low gas price not keep long and inevitably going to rise. Moreover, the easiest recoverable resources are tapped, which are quickly depleted and the remaining sources more expensive. This is evident from an analysis of 65,000 sources in the U.S. and Canada by the Canadian Geological Survey, that a production cut of 60 to 90 percent is expected after 2020. The export of gas in liquid form (LNG), the price will continue to drive. So there is likely a schaliegasbubbel that in the foreseeable future may implode. The ecological downside of large shale gas is increasingly clear. Currently a study by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the environment and nature damage, which can be large. What does this mean for Europe? Many people in Europe advocate copying the American schaliegasmodel. In the U.S., however, everything is different, both underground and above ground. The shale gas in Europe is much deeper, making it technically difficult to win. The two largest schaliegasgebieden in the EU are in Poland and France, with an estimated 3,500 billion cubic meters each, together less than 30 percent of the estimated recoverable reserves in the United States, about 25,000 billion cubic meters.
For Europe, estimates of the environmental risks of shale gas by the Tyndall Centre in England and the Wuppertal Institute. Both renowned research speak of unavoidable environmental and social risks unacceptable. Unavoidable impacts include damage to the landscape, pollutant emissions, greenhouse gas emissions in the construction, groundwater pollution and noise. There are also uncertainties about earthquakes and methane leakage.
A final risk is the mixture of water and chemical substances that the shale gas comes up. This mixture contains toxic, corrosive, carcinogenic and radioactive substances, such as benzene, mercury, arsenic and radon, which can come. Based on this, France has banned the extraction of shale gas…. What does all this mean for the Netherlands? … Not for nothing has Vitens, Dutch largest water producer, warned of the potential risks to the water supply, particularly for groundwater contamination. RIVM has also expressed its concerns about the quality of groundwater in the Netherlands.
The 55 signatories:
Prof. Jan Rotmans, Professor of Sustainable Transitions, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Prof. Theo Beckers, Professor of Sustainable Development (e-mail), Tilburg University
Professor Frans Berkhout, Professor of Innovation & Sustainability, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Jan Boersema, Professor of Environmental Science, Culture and Religion, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Jacqueline Cramer, Professor of Sustainable Innovation, Utrecht University.
Prof. Bert de Vries, Professor of Energy and Global Change, Utrecht University
Professor Reyer Gerlagh, Professor of Environmental Economics, Tilburg University.
Prof. John Grin, Professor of Policy Science, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Michael Haas, Professor of Materials and Sustainability, Delft University of Technology
Prof. Wim Hafkamp, Professor of Environmental Sciences, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Prof. Marko Hekkert, professor Dynamics of Innovation Systems, Utrecht University.
Prof. Arjen Hoekstra, professor of Water Management, University of Twente.
Prof. Kees Hummelen, Professor of Chemistry, University of Groningen
Prof. Harry Hummels, Professor of Ethics, Organizations and Society, Maastricht University
Professor Jan Jonker, Professor of Sustainable Enterprise, University of Nijmegen
Prof. René Kemp, Professor of Innovation and Sustainable Development ICIS, Maastricht University
Professor Alfred Kleinknecht, Professor of Economics of Innovation, Delft University of Technology
Prof. Carolien Kroeze, Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis, Wageningen University
Prof. Rik Leemans, Professor of Environmental Systems Analysis, Wageningen University
Prof. Harrogate Spring, Professor of Philosophy of Sustainable Development, Maastricht University
Professor Pieter Leroy, Professor of Environment and Policy, University of Nijmegen
Prof.ir. Peter Luscure, professor Installation / C2C, Delft University of Technology
Prof. Pim Martens, Professor of Sustainable Development, Maastricht University
Prof. Anthonie Meijers, Professor of Philosophy of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology
Prof. Arthur Mol, Professor of Environmental Policy, Wageningen University.
Prof. Paquita Perez Salgado, Dean Faculty of Natural Sciences, Open University of the Netherlands
Prof. Ad Ragas, Professor of Environmental Natuurwetenschapppen, Open University Heerlen.
Prof. Lucas Reijnders, Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Sjoerd Romme, Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Eindhoven University of Technology
Prof. Annemieke Roobeek, Professor of Strategy and Transformation Management, Nyenrode University
Professor Huub Savenije, Professor of Hydrology and Water Management, Delft University of Technology
Prof. Bert Scholtens, Professor of Sustainability and Financial Institutions, University of Groningen
Prof. Johan Schot, Professor of History of Technology, Eindhoven University of Technology
Prof. Wim Sinke, Professor of Solar Energy, University of Amsterdam
Prof. Sjak Smulders, Professor of Macroeconomics, University of Tilburg
Prof. Jan Suppose Professor Oceanic and Space Human Activity, Maastricht University
Professor Frans Stokman, professor Methods / Techniques Social Sciences, University of Groningen
Prof. Egbert Tellegen, Professor of Sociology and the Environment, Utrecht University
Professor Gerard van Bussel, professor wind, Delft University of Technology
Prof. Andy van den Dice, Professor of Climate Design & Sustainability, Delft University of Technology
Prof. Klaas van Egmond, Professor of Environmental Sciences, Utrecht University
Prof. Anke van Hal, Professor of Sustainable Housing Transformation, Delft University of Technology
Prof. Ekko of Ireland, Professor of Environmental Economics esp Natural Resources, Wageningen University
Prof. Theo van de Klundert, Professor of Economics, University of Tilburg
Prof. Daan van Soest, Professor of Environmental Economics, Free University Amsterdam and Tilburg University
Professor Rob van Tulder, Professor of International Business-Society Management, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Prof. Arjen van Witteloostuijn, Professor of Economics, University of Antwerp, Tilburg and Utrecht
Prof.mr. Jonathan Verschuuren, Professor of International and European Environmental Law, University of Tilburg
Prof. Pier Vellinga, Professor of Climate Change Wageningen University / University of Amsterdam
Prof. Louise Vet, Professor of Evolutionary Ecology, Wageningen University
Prof. Arjen Wals, Professor of Social Learning and Sustainable Development, Wageningen University
Prof. Gail Whiteman, Professor of Sustainability and Climate Change, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Prof. Herman Wijffels, Professor of Sustainability and Social Change, Utrecht University
Professor Aart de Zeeuw, Professor of Environmental Economics, Tilburg University
Professor Bastiaan Zoeteman, Professor of International Sustainability Policy, University of Tilburg [Emphasis added]
Rabobank’s Position Paper on Oil and Gas Activities, July 1, 2013
“….Rabobank Group does not provide finance that will be used to extract unconventional fossil fuels….”
Rabobank will not finance shale gas extraction by Dutchnews.nl, July 1, 2013
The Rabobank will not lend money to companies involved in shale gas extraction, the cooperative bank told Trouw on Monday. Nor will it make loans to farmers who rent their land to shale gas extraction companies. The bank’s global policy is not to be involved with extracting fossil fuels where it is not clear what the risks and consequences may be, a spokesman told the paper. … Research into fracking in the Netherlands is currently being carried out by the economic affairs ministry. The results are expected in July. … However, opposition to drilling is growing. A number of local councils, water boards and even brewing groups like Heineken have come out against the production of shale gas because of the risk of pollution. [Emphasis added]
Rabobank is against shale gas extraction by Kees de Peace, July 1, 2013, Trouw
Rabobank refuse to lend to businesses that deal with the extraction of shale gas money. Even farmers who lease their land to energy companies with the intention of shale gas out of the ground, do not get loans from the bank. … Here and there by negligence and badly beaten wells question of pollution of soil and water. Thereby colliding gas interests and agricultural interests increasingly with each other. Rabobank is the largest agricultural lender. The bank considers the production of what it calls “unconventional fuels” such as oil from tar sands and shale gas from deep bedrock, as polluting and do not contribute to it. A spokeswoman for the office of Rabobank in Utrecht confirms this arrangement. Which is based on the ‘Position paper on oil and gas activities’ that the bank has recently issued. … The position of Rabobank applies worldwide, says the spokesperson, but is mainly used in practice in the U.S..
NETHERLANDS:‘Rabobank turns against shale gas’ by Presseurop, July 1, 2013, Trouw
The country’s largest bank is refusing to lend to companies that wish to invest in shale gas. The Amsterdam daily reports that Rabobank “does not want to contribute to energy which it believes to be polluting,” and has said as much in a recent position paper on its business and sustainable development. For the moment, this decision will mainly have an impact on the bank’s operations in the US, where Rabobank is the leading lender to farmers, and where the drive to develop shale gas is such that it has been called “a second gold rush”. [Emphasis added]