A Dutch court has given a US$1.1 billion Abu Dhabi-backed gas project the green light and called environmentalist concerns "unfounded."
The ruling, issued by the Dutch Council of State today from The Hague, allows a plan to build Europe's biggest gas storage site to proceed according to schedule and gives a boost to Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (Taqa), the project developer.
Environmentalist and community groups had lodged complaints against the plan to use a depleted gas reservoir to store natural gas, saying it would harm wildlife and possibly increase the risk of earthquakes.
"The Council of State declared all objections to the plan and the permits unfounded," the court said in a statement. "Although experts could not give a realistic estimate of the risk of an earthquake, the chance was in any event considered no greater than that already incurred by extracting gas at the same location."
The empty reservoir which Taqa hoped to use is a gas field where production had stopped in 2003. The project entails drilling 14 wells, laying pipelines and building gas treatment and compression plants.
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