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Town’s fuming forces Dutch gov’t to halt Shell’s CO2 storage project

Agence France-Presse November 5, 2010

The Dutch government said Thursday it will not allow oil giant Shell to store millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide in a depleted gas reservoir under a small town, upholding the fears of townspeople.

“The CO2 storage project in (the western town of) Barendrecht is not going ahead,” the ministry of economy, agriculture, and environment said in a statement. A “total lack of local support” was one of the main reasons for the decision, it quoted minister Maxime Verhagen as saying in a letter to parliament.

The previous Dutch government last November provisionally authorized Anglo-Dutch Shell to undertake a project to store some of the five megatonnes of CO2 emitted each year by the company’s refinery in Pernis, Europe’s largest, about 15 kilometres from Barendrecht.

But it said it would leave the final decision to the next government elected in June, a ministry spokesman explained.

Under the scheme, set to have started in 2012, the CO2 was to be carried by a pipeline, compressed, and injected into a depleted gas reservoir 1,800 metres under ground. Shell, which planned to store more than 300,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year for 30 years at Barendrecht, has said the CO2 will dissolve or form minerals over time.

But the town of 50,000 threatened legal action to stop the project.

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