Gas-extraction in Groningen Province and the Right to Security

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This article analyses the human rights implications of prolonged gas extraction from one of the largest natural gas fields in Europe in the Northern Province of the Netherlands, Groningen. Gas extraction from the Groningen natural gasfield has occured based on close cooperation of the Dutch State and consessionaire NAM (Shell and Exxon Mobile) since the 1960s and in the past decades has made the sub-soil unstable. This has given rise to continuous (and increasingly severe) earth quakes, up to 3.6 on the Scale of Richter. These earth quakes have wreaked wide-spread damage on homes in the region, leading to economic damage, physical insecurity, phychological insecurity, social unrest and civil protests. It has also lead to several adminstrative and civil court cases, including on the basis of human rights law.

This contribution examines whether decision-making around the permitting of further gas extraction meets the test of articles 2 and 8 ECHR (right to life and right to private life) specifically, and how the government might have to deal with competing claims and interests. This includes especially the public interest of securing stable supplies of access to natural gas to meet essential energy needs (leveringszekerheid), e.g. for businesses, but especially of households that rely on the Groningen gas for cooking and heating.

The contribution also briefly considers to what extent human rights imperatives may inform civil law cases about tort-based damages ('onrechtmatige daad'), either against the state or against company NAM.
Translated title of the contributionGas-extraction in Groningen Province and the Right to Security
Original languageDutch
Title of host publicationJuridische Aspecten van Gaswinning
Subtitle of host publicationEen 'Groningse' Verkenning
EditorsF.T Oldenhuis, P. Koerts, H Bröring, O. Couwenberg, E. Woerdman, M.C. Gozoglu, M.M.E. Hesselman, J.G. Brouwer, M.M. Roggenkamp, N.J. Vermaak, M.H. Wissink
PublisherWolters Kluwer
ISBN (Print)9789013153682
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameMonografiën Privaatrecht
PublisherWolters Kluwer
ISSN (Print)1573-9791


  • human rights
  • gas extraction
  • natural resources
  • right to energy
  • right to life
  • right to private life
  • ECHR
  • human rights law
  • recht of veiligheid

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