Abstract

The Groningen gas field serves as a natural laboratory for production‐induced earthquakes, because no earthquakes were observed before the beginning of gas production. Increasing gas production rates resulted in growing earthquake activity and eventually in the occurrence of the 2012 Mw 3.6 Huizinge earthquake. At least since this event, a detailed seismic hazard and risk assessment including estimation of the maximum earthquake magnitude is considered to be necessary to decide on the future gas production. In this short note, we first apply state‐of‐the‐art methods of mathematical statistics to derive confidence intervals for the maximum possible earthquake magnitude mmax. Second, we calculate the maximum expected magnitude MT in the time between 2016 and 2024 for three assumed gas‐production scenarios. Using broadly accepted physical assumptions and 90% confidence level, we suggest a value of mmax 4.4, whereas MT varies between 3.9 and 4.3, depending on the production scenario.

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