Dutch and Belgian ports to jointly store CO2 under North Sea
The Ports of Rotterdam, Antwerp and North Sea Ports (Ghent-Terneuzen-Vlissingen) want to capture and store CO2 together. In the joint project, called CO2TransPorts, empty gas fields under the North Sea will serve as storage facilities.
The project is seeking approval by the EU as Project of Common Interest (PCI), which would bring in a considerable amount of subsidies. In their application, CO2TransPorts mentions 10 million tons of CO2 a year. The total CO2 emissions for the three ports amount to 60 million tons a year, almost a third of the total Carbon Dioxide emissions of Belgium and the Netherlands combined.
The willingness to tackle the CO2 problem is high and, according to harbor executives, the three ports are not competitors in this matter. Joining forces is the way to go. It looks like Antwerp Port and North Sea Ports will join Rotterdam’s Porthos initiative.
This existing CO2 project consists of a network of pipelines in the port, that captures the emissions of refineries and chemical plants before they become airborne. Porthos also has a submarine pipeline of about 20 kilometers to store the CO2 in an empty gas field. Earlier this year, Rotterdam Harbor CEO, Allard Castelein, invited the Port of Antwerp to join Porthos.
The decision on whether or not CO2TransPorts is granted PCI-status, is expected in June or September. The project still needs a lot to be done, like detailing the investments. CO2 has to be captured, transported to Rotterdam and then sent 3 kilometers under the seabed for storage.
The Port of Antwerp has a lot of knowledge on the matter, since the acquisition of the Nationale Maatschappij voor Pijpleidingen (National Company of Pipelines) in 2017. It manages the 720 kilometers of pipelines in the port itself, but also the connections to the chemical industry along the Albert Canal and in Feluy, Hainaut.
The goal is to have the CO2 capturing network in Rotterdam ready by 2026. Between 2026 and 2030, the cross-border pipeline would be installed between the three ports. CO2TransPorts envisages an increase of capacity beyond 2030.