On a Norwegian initiative, the riparian states of the North-East Atlantic have agreed on an important step for the introduction of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. At a meeting in Ostend, Belgium, the representatives of the countries adopted a set of regulations on storing CO2 streams from industrial processes under the seabed. The agreement was achieved at the end of the German EU Presidency, following difficult negotiations among the 12 participating EU Member States and the EU Commission.
Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel expressed his delight at the result, which he considered an important contribution to climate change: "the riparian states of the North-East Atlantic are leading the way in introducing the new future-oriented CCS technology. This is a very significant decision for energy and nature conservation policies and clears the way for the creation of binding, ambitious framework conditions for carbon storage. The new authorisation procedures aim to give equal consideration to the interests of climate protection and the protection of the marine environment."
The Parties to the Convention on the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic, the OSPAR Convention, met in Ostend for their deliberations. The decision on storing CO2 under the seabed envisages the creation of a binding authorisation system with stringent environmental protection requirements for the introduction of CCS technology. This will ensure both the protection of the marine environment and human health and the uses of the sea. On a German initiative, the placement of CO2 streams in the water column or on the seabed is prohibited; the CO2 streams will be stored in geological formations under the seabed.
The EU Commission welcomed the result as leading the way for the further development of legislation within the EU regarding the introduction of CCS technology.