According to Paternotte, the inhabitants of Groningen have a “right to safety, clarity and perspective”, and politicians have a duty to offer them that. On the other hand, the announcement that twice as much gas from Groningen may be needed to meet domestic and foreign demand this year has created ‘a lot of extra uncertainty’.
The House has given the cabinet six weeks to come up with plans to prevent extra gas from having to be pumped up. Rutte has already promised that he will personally commit himself if necessary to prevent Germany from asking for more gas. He did say that in view of the contractual obligations that exist, he cannot give any guarantees.
Rutte also said on Wednesday that he was ‘ashamed of his eyes’ when he saw the long lines at the Groningen subsidy counters. Initially, the cabinet had set aside too little money for making Groningen homes more sustainable, so that many people initially missed out. An additional budget has now been reserved.
The cabinet will decide by 1 April at the latest whether the extraction level should indeed be increased. Another factor is the fact that a nitrogen factory that will make foreign gas suitable for domestic consumption by mixing nitrogen will be ready later than planned.