Must the Netherlands stop gas exports?
According to a report commissioned by the State Supervision of Mines authority the Netherlands needs to drastically reduce its gas production in order to protect the citizens of Groningen province from further earthquakes. Commentators weigh the safety of the citizens against the country's international obligations.
Government is in a fix
The government is caught between angry citizens on the one hand and its export obligations on the other, De Volkskrant observes:
“One option would be to restrict exports. In recent years they have already gone down by more than half. ... No new contracts were signed and old ones were allowed to run out. Even if [Economics Minister Eric] Wiebes says talks with Belgium, Germany and France will continue, there's little leeway. ... For now they still need the gas from Groningen. Not until 2019 will the demand start going down by around ten percent per year. Putting an abrupt stop to exports would leave our neighbouring countries out in the cold, literally, and that would hurt the bilateral relations.”
State must acknowledge risks and take action
The government must finally assume responsibility on this matter, NRC Handelsblad demands: It's true: the two companies [Shell and Exxon Mobil] earn money with gas, and plenty of it. But the lion's share of the gas profits really did go to the state. So it's only logical that the state must pay damages to the citizens. That means that all of us pay, just as we all profited. ... [The Minister of Economic Affairs Eric] Wiebes is now putting an end to the delaying tactics of [gas company] NAM, and also to the previous government's typical shirking of its responsibility.