Financial security is one of the main obstacles to the wider deployment of the CCS technology. In the literature it is pointed out for instance that not all costs and liabilities involved in CCS are suitable for insurance and that insurance for major events is not likely to be possible or just too expensive. Note the scale of the relevant costs and liabilities: monitoring costs, remediation costs, liability for leakages (all these events encompassing period during injection as well as post injection), decommissioning, premature decommissioning ad so on.
To conclude this thread, given the challenges facing potential investors in the field of arranging financial security for liabilities involved in CCS, the approach taken to the said issue in the EC opinion of 28 February 2012 is disappointing. There is also a concern that it can be of little help for developers of other potential CO2 storage sites.
The requirements concerning the environmental impact assessment (Articles 8(1) (a), 7 point 9, Directive 85/337/EEC)
The relevant passage of the Commission’ opinion reads:
“The storage permit application includes information pursuant to Article 5 of Directive 85/337/EEC. It includes Environmental Impact Assessment studies for the capture, transport and storage of CO2. The studies conclude that against the background of other activities and natural processes in the area, the adverse impacts are overall negligible. Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), including public participation, are being carried out by the Dutch authorities pursuant to Article 4(1), Annex I, points 23 and 24, Article 4(2), Annex II, point 10(i), and Articles 5 to 10 of Directive 85/337/EEC. As development consent has not been granted, no further comments can be made at this stage.”
The important remark is, “Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs), including public participation, are being carried out...”. Thus, the fact that Environmental Impact Assessments are not finished is not an obstacle to make a submission for the European Commission opinion on the draft CCS storage permit. This is an important clue how to manage the timelines in the, sometimes overly stringent, investment schedules.
What about the proposed monitoring plan (Article 9, point 5, of the CCS Directive), the proposed corrective measures plan (including the risk management plan) (Article 9, point 6, of the CCS Directive), and the provisional post-closure plan (Article 9, point 7, of the CCS Directive)
So, the above considerations can lean somebody towards raising the question, what is, in principle, the scope for the Commission’s review of the draft CCS storage permit. The following passage of the Commission’s opinion relates to this issue:
“The Commission has reviewed the draft permit in light of the requirements set out in the CCS Directive and with a view to the purpose of the review, set out in Recital 25 of the Directive, to ensure consistency in implementation of the requirements of the Directive across the Union. The review is based on the documents submitted by the Dutch Government and has concentrated on those main requirements of the CCS Directive, which are considered essential for the long-term safety and security of storage.
The review was based in particular on Articles 8 ("conditions for storage permits") and 9 ("contents of storage permits") of the CCS Directive which is further detailed below. The review did not cover the proposed monitoring plan (Article 9, point 5, of the CCS Directive), the proposed corrective measures plan (including the risk management plan) (Article 9, point 6, of the CCS Directive), and the provisional post-closure plan (Article 9, point 7, of the CCS Directive), as, by own admission of the Dutch Government, none of those plans submitted along with the draft permit are sufficiently mature to be operational at this point in time. The Dutch Government has committed to ensure that those plans are further elaborated in due course, and to submit the finalised plans to the Commission for review pursuant to Article 10 of the Directive, prior to commencement of injection.”