November 4, 2010 / 2:45 PM / 9 years ago

Dutch shelve CO2 storage project but keep policy

* Dutch shelve Barendrecht CSS project

* Minister cites delays and local opposition

* Netherlands remains in favour of CSS

* North Netherlands and seabed projects continue

AMSTERDAM, Nov 4 (Reuters) - The Dutch government has shelved a plan to store carbon dioxide underground in the town of Barendrecht in the west but remains committed to CO2 storage.

Economy, Agriculture and Innovation Minister Maxime Verhagen said on Thursday due to a three-year delay and local opposition he had decided to stop the Barendrecht plan.

However, the Netherlands is already using seabed storage of CO2 and the minister is in talks with local authorities about CO2 storage in the north of the Netherlands.

The minister said CO2 storage was safe.

“Stopping with Barendrecht does not mean an end to CO2 storage in the Netherlands,” he said in a letter to parliament.

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a pioneering technology which involves trapping CO2 emissions from industrial processes, such as power generation from fossil fuels, and piping them underground or offshore below the seabed.

There are plans to capture the CO2 emissions of two new electricity generators in the north and transport the carbon dioxide via a pipeline to gas fields.

The Netherlands has used up much of its natural gas.

The CO2 would be injected several kilometres underground and sealed with a concrete plug.

Eight smaller gas fields have been selected in the Drente, Friesland and Groningen provinces but the main Slochteren field will continue to be operated for natural gas exploitation.

The BORG grouping for the North Nederland CO2 storage includes local authorities, RWE (RWEG.DE), Nuon [VATN.UL], Gasunie, NAM, Groningen Seaports and Energy Valley.

The Barendrecht project, near a town close to Rotterdam, could be used for CO2 from the giant Pernis refineries.

Royal Dutch Shell RD.AS currently pipes CO2 for use in greenhouses and for bubbles in soft drinks.

Shell planned the pilot project to use a depleted gas field under Barendrecht but the municipal council was opposed to it.

There is also a plan by Germany’s E.ON EONG.DE and Belgium’s Elektrabel GDF Suez GSZ.PA for further offshore storage.

CCS is seen by industry and some lawmakers as vital technology in climate change fight because it could potentially curb emissions from coal and other fossil fuel plants.

It is opposed by some environmentalists who argue it is unsafe, will not be ready in time and could divert investment away from truly green sources of power.

Home to Europe’s biggest port, a major hub for oil, coal and biofuels, the Rotterdam area produces about 16 percent of the Netherlands’ total CO2 emissions, and is counting on CCS to help it halve emissions in the area by 2025 compared to 1990 levels. (Reporting by Marcel Michelson; editing by James Jukwey)

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