Canadian Manufacturing

Energy firm found liable for emotional suffering of Dutch town

The Netherlands Petroleum Co. has been deemed responsible for the troubles wrought by earthquakes caused by gas-drilling


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THE HAGUE, Netherlands—A Dutch court has ruled that an energy company jointly owned by Shell and ExxonMobil is liable for the psychological suffering of residents in the north of the country whose homes have been damaged by small earthquakes caused by gas drilling.

In a March 1 ruling, a court in the northern city of Assen held the Netherlands Petroleum Company, known by its Dutch acronym NAM, liable for so-called “immaterial damages” suffered by residents and ordered the company to pay them compensation.

NAM says in a statement that it is studying the ruling.

NAM official Thijs Jurgens says the company has “always stated that we are responsible for earthquake-related damage” including immaterial damages.

The court case was launched by 127 residents who claimed they suffered emotionally because of the earthquakes.


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