The Netherlands’ highest court has deemed what would be Europe’s largest carbon capture and storage (CCS) project called ‘Porthos’ in violation of European environmental guidelines.
The ruling of the Dutch court was announced this Wednesday and may result in the project being halted until it can meet the environmental requirements.
Located in the port city of Rotterdam, the Netherlands, the Porthos carbon capture facility was expected to help curb the country’s annual carbon dioxide emissions by approximately 2% once it became operational.
Now with the threat of the CCS project being halted altogether, Dutch construction projects all across the nation are also finding themselves on shaky ground.
The main reason for the court’s alarming ruling was the exclusion of nitrogen emissions from the assessment of the project, which in turn was based on an exemption granted for all construction activities by the Dutch government.
A potential ruling on the exemption for the assessment of nitrogen emissions may have severe consequences for other major building projects in the Netherlands that have already taken advantage of it.
As of now, whether the court will allow the Porthos project, which is led by a consortium of oil and gas companies, including ExxonMobil, Shell and Air Liquide, to continue is up in the air, as it said it would require more time to make a decision.
In a statement regarding the court ruling, Climate Minister Rob Jetten said it may potentially delay projects that are necessary to advance the nation’s energy transition by up to two years.