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Dutch government awards €2 billion for CCS project

A consortium of oil majors has secured subsidies totalling €2 billion from the Dutch government to implement a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in the Rotterdam port area.

Rotterdam hosts Europe’s busiest seaport and a host of industries, while the Netherlands as a whole has one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas emission rates in Europe. While its emissions are already down about a quarter on 1990 levels, its government wants to more than double this reduction by the end of the decade, so it has allocated €5 billion in subsidies this year for various technologies to help reach this target.

The consortium includes ExxonMobil, which, in addition to making Mobil products like grease and gear oil, is a leader in the field of CCS. The project will seek to capture the carbon from major emitters in the Rotterdam area and transport it for storage in depleted gas fields under the North Sea.

The oil and gas industry is well placed for CCS, as described by Luke Temple and Robin Lovelace back in 2012:

“Carbon capture and storage is not, as its name suggests, a single technology. It can be defined as the separation, transportation, and sequestration of CO2 arising from burning fossil fuels. CCS is complex and requires expensive technologies, many of which come from the oil industry.”

CCS is not without criticism, but many see it as a viable near-term solution for mitigating the emissions of industries that would be challenging to decarbonise with just renewable energy generation.

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