Four Rotterdam companies receive billions in subsidy for CO2 storage
Two refineries and two hydrogen factories in the port of Rotterdam will receive a multi-billion dollar subsidy to capture and store CO₂ under the North Sea. The Ministry of Economic Affairs confirms this on Sunday NRC after reporting from the NOS. Depending on the future price for the tradable CO₂ emission rights, the subsidy can amount to a maximum of 2.1 billion euros.
The so-called Porthos project is an initiative of the refineries of Shell and ExxonMobil and the nearby hydrogen plants of Air Liquide and Air Products. They want to capture CO₂ from 2024 and transport it by pipeline to empty gas fields in the North Sea. It is the first large-scale CO₂ capture and storage project in the Netherlands. The government is making up the difference between the storage costs of 80 euros per tonne of CO₂ and the price of the emission rights, which is currently approximately 50 euros per tonne.
When the infrastructure for the project is complete, it is expected that 2.5 million tons less CO₂ will come out of the chimneys of the refineries and hydrogen plants. That is a reduction of more than one percent of national greenhouse gas emissions.
The method that the companies will use is known by the English term carbon capture and storage (CCS). Environmental organizations see little in the way of it, because this would give companies no incentive to reduce their CO₂ emissions and the technology therefore stands in the way of ‘real greening’. An earlier Shell project to store CO₂ underground near Barendrecht was reversed by the cabinet some ten years ago under pressure from the local population.