In major move forward, Dutch government approves Shell’s Barendrecht CO2 storage site

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The Netherlands has an on- and offshore capacity to store a total of 1.6 gigatonnes of CO2  under the GESTCO project (download PDF to right) and has committed itself to developing CO2 capture and storage (CCS) technology (CATO)  in order to cut national greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).

Other CCS projects with onshore storage sites are in the early planning stages.

The Shell Barendrecht project will be divided into two stages. The first will involve injecting CO2 into a small field in Carnisselande which can hold up to 0.8 megatonnes of CO2, followed by the injection of CO2 into the comparatively larger field in Ziedewij which can hold up to 9 megatonnes.

Shell anticipates that the first stage will take up to two years and will allow for evaluation prior to the final and more decisive stage.

The project has been met some opposition from the local government and residents in Barendrecht due to fears over health and safety.

Prior to Amsterdam’s announcement giving the green light Shell’s project, the local council said it would appeal to the Ministry of Environment if it gave the go-ahead.

The Ministry of Environment has explained that it hopes the Barendrecht project will dissipate any doubt regarding the safety of CO2 storage.

“Communication with and amongst all stakeholders – civil society, academia, local and national authorities as well as industry – is essential if CCS projects are to be successful,” says Dulce Boavida from Bellona.

“The process of social engagement with the local community must begin even before the project is formally planned and announced, so that they understand the situation and can make informed decisions regarding the desirability of CCS,” she said.  
 
“Once the Barendrecht project is proved a success there may be greater understanding amongst local communities and some of the public outreach methods used by Shell in Barendrecht – as well as those used by other utilities elsewhere – may subsequently prove more effective”, she said.