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Dutch Would ‘Pay a Price’ for Scrapping Shell CO2 Plan, EU Says

By Fred Pals

May 6 (Bloomberg) — Citizens of the Netherlands may pay higher costs for new energy technologies if a carbon capture and storage project planned in the Dutch town of Barendrecht is canceled, a top European Union official said.

“It would then mean higher costs for the Netherlands in terms of other energies which you will have to develop,” Matthias Ruete, the European Commission’s director-general for energy and transport, said today in an interview in Groningen, Netherlands, where he was attending a gas conference. “The Netherlands will have to pay a price. That is clear, as the energy mix has to become emission-free.”

The Dutch government and Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Europe’s largest oil company, plan to build the first of a new generation of CO2 storage facilities in two depleted natural-gas fields more than a mile under Barendrecht.

Emissions from a gasification hydrogen plant at Shell’s Pernis refinery, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away, would be sent by pipe to the site, preventing the greenhouse gas from reaching the air and harming the environment. Town residents and officials have registered their opposition to the plan, citing safety concerns and the project’s experimental nature.

The plan last month received a positive recommendation from a commission that said it sufficiently addresses safety concerns and adequately demonstrates compliance with Dutch safety standards, according to a statement published on the Web site of the MER commission, an independent panel of experts appointed by the national and provincial governments to assess projects for their potential environmental impact.

The government will take a final decision on the project after the summer.

Energy Pillars

Carbon capture and storage, or CCS, involves extracting CO2 from power generation and industrial projects, compressing it and injecting it into depleted oil and gas fields or saline aquifers. The technology would allow prolonged use of coal for electricity generation while reducing greenhouse pollution.

The Barendrecht city council has opposed the plan and will deliver a final decision by June 29. The council said in its preliminary finding that public support for the project was “lacking” and has asked Environment Minister Jacqueline Cramer to halt the venture.

“I think that people should be convinced of the need to develop CCS as part of our energy pillars in the future,” Ruete said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Pals at [email protected]

Last Updated: May 6, 2009 08:42 EDT 

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