The Dutch government is reducing the amount of natural gas it pumps from underground reserves in the north of the country, in the latest production cut designed to reduce the number of small earthquakes in the region blamed on the drilling.

The coalition government announced Friday it will limit production to 24 billion cubic meters (31.39 billion cubic yards) per year for the next five years.

The cut followed an announcement late last year that gas production in Groningen would be brought back to 27 billion cubic meters (35.31 billion cubic yards). Gas production in the region has now been cut to half the 2012 level.

Economic Affairs Minister Henk Kamp says, "the security of Groningen residents takes priority in decisions on gas production."