Generally, according to IMarEST the ports account for the one-third of the overall GHG emissions from the Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg region, would be used to pipe the gas into vast cavities about two miles (3km) below the seabed.

The purpose of carbon capture is to aid the transition of industry towards the elimination of the burning of fossil fuels, and to help reach climate change targets set in the Paris agreement. The Dutch government is targeting a 49% reduction in emissions by 2030.

The participants of the project hope that it will be finished by 2030; Yet, the scale of the storage in two empty gas fields is unexpected and raises concerns on how the CO2 will affect the deep subsurface, according to the Dutch government.

A further expansion beyond the initial 10m tonnes of C02 is expected after 2030. The total emissions of the business activities in the ports amount to more than 60m tons of CO2 a year.

In general, scientists from Belgium and the Netherlands have supported the plans.

Prof Mark Saeys of Ghent University commented to De Morgen newspaper

Of course I would prefer to see investments in renewable energy, but you have to be realistic: as long as we as a society remain dependent on fossil fuels, underground CO2 storage may be a crucial lever for achieving our climate targets.

The world’s first large-scale carbon storage project was developed in 1996 off the Norwegian coast, injecting nearly 1m tonnes a year into a space 800 to 1,100 metres beneath the seabed. However, the development of carbon storage in Europe has been stiff.

In 2009, the European commission committed €1bn to finance six pilot projects with the hope of having 12 schemes up and running by 2015. Due to the high costs, none of the projects were developed.

Moreover, more than 70% of the 30m tonnes of CO2 captured annually by facilities for use or storage is captured in North America.

Concluding, the largest CO2 storage throughout the globe, is the Petra Nova project in Texas, that began in 2017 and is attached to a coal-fired power station. It has an annual capture capacity of 1.4m tonnes of CO2, the equivalent of the emissions produced by 350,000 cars. The pipeline planned for the European ports project, known as Porthos, would have the capacity to transport 5m tonnes of CO2 a year.