Earthquakes associated with gas production have been recorded in the northern part of the Netherlands since 1986. The Huizinge earthquake of 16 August 2012, the strongest so far with a magnitude of M
L = 3.6, prompted reassessment of the seismicity induced by production from the Groningen gas field. An international research programme was initiated, with the participation of many Dutch and international universities, knowledge institutes and recognised experts.
The prime aim of the programme was to assess the hazard and risk resulting from the induced seismicity. Classic probabilistic seismic hazard and risk assessment (PSHA) was implemented using a Monte Carlo method. The scope of the research programme extended from the cause (production of gas from the underground reservoir) to the effects (risk to people and damage to buildings). Data acquisition through field measurements and laboratory experiments was a substantial element of the research programme. The existing geophone and accelerometer monitoring network was extended, a new network of accelerometers in building foundations was installed, geophones were placed at reservoir level in deep wells, GPS stations were installed and a gravity survey was conducted.
Results of the probabilistic seismic hazard and risk assessment have been published in production plans submitted to the Minister of Economic Affairs, Winningsplan Groningen 2013 and 2016 and several intermediate updates. The studies and data acquisition further constrained the uncertainties and resulted in a reduction of the initially assessed hazard and risk.