Pohang and Groningen

November 28, 2019

At the end of November, we talked to a delegation from Pohang, South Korea, consisting of researchers, policy makers and a social worker. The city in southeastern South Korea, more than twice the size of Groningen, was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 5.5 on the Richter scale 2 years ago.

In Pohang, the earthquake was not caused by gas extraction but possibly by geothermal energy. Geothermal energy makes use of the warm water present in the deep subsurface. Yet there are similarities. Nearly 2,000 homes in Pohang were damaged after the quake. They said that now, 2 years later, hundreds of people are still in temporary shelters because their homes are not safe. Residents in Pohang also face uncertainty, frustration and mistrust in the government, given the response to the quakes.

The delegation came here to learn from the approach in Groningen. They are especially curious about the impact of the earthquakes on people, how the government and NAM deal with the earthquake risks and the legal settlement of damage.

We keep in touch with the group in South Korea to provide each other with information when needed.