The Dutch government has decided to grant $2.4 billion (2 billion euros) to carbon capture and storage projects in the Port of Rotterdam. The project called Porthos is said to be one of the biggest carbon capture and storage plant in the world.
Oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil together with industrial gas suppliers Air Liquide and Air Products have formed a consortium and applied for the subsidies in January. They plan to build CO2 capture facilities for the factories and refineries in the Rotterdam port area and store it in empty Dutch gas fields, 20 km off the coast in the North Sea.
The government has agreed to give $2.4 billion grants to their project as part of its commitment to allocate $6 billion (5 billion euros) in 2021 for climate mitigation technologies. Netherlands aims to achieve 55% reduction of GHGs compared to 1990 levels by 2030. It has one of the highest carbon emissions per capita in Europe.
Later this month, the Dutch government should give details for the rest of the applicants and grant allocations. The carbon capture and storage plant initiated by the four companies, will be able to store approximately 2.5 million tons of CO2 per year. It is projected to become operational in 2024 and is said to reduce emissions of the sea port by around 10%.
The project is also the first large-scale CCS facility in the Netherlands. Earlier attempts have been made in the country to develop CO2 capture and storage. However they were met with protests by locals and disapproval by environmental groups and thus abandoned later on. Environmental groups like Greenpeace have claimed that CCS is an expensive way to mitigate climate change and delays necessary shifts in the energy sector.
The CCS plant in the Netherlands is an important milestone for the country’s efforts to reach its decarbonization targets. It makes good sense for the oil companies to participate as well, as they cut down on their bills for emitting carbon emissions.