The Price of Gas
Securing gas supply is a top priority for the EU, both through the construction of new gas pipelines and through liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. The European Investment Bank’s finance for the Dutch ‘gas roundabout’ is a case in point.
The Dutch government wants the Netherlands to become the 'gas roundabout' of Europe. Transmission pipelines have been laid, gas storage facilities have been built and parts of the gas transmission network outside the Netherlands has been acquired. The Dutch objective to make money as a swing producer of power generated from fossil fuels runs counter to European ambitions to advance a broader energy agenda that aims to increase collective political action on the energy and climate change fronts.
In Rotterdam the European Investment Bank (IEB) provided about 50% of the external financing (EUR 394 million) of a terminal for liquefied natural gas (2009). The terminal is situated on an expansion of the port of Rotterdam, an area of land that has been reclaimed from the North sea. The EIB has also lent EUR 900 million to finance this expansion of the Port of Rotterdam. Moreover, at the end of 2012 it approved a loan of an approximate EUR 250 million to expand the gas transmission network capacity of the Netherlands.
The Dutch energy path locks the country and other EU member states into a long lasting dependence on fossil fuels. This happened while at the same time the Netherlands and the EU recognise that, in order to solve global environmental problems, a drastic reduction of its own use of fossil fuels is needed. Public European money has been spent on Dutch projects which have been pushed without a public debate. The money invested in these projects is frustrating a more sustainable energy path. Instead, investments are becoming even more dependent upon importing fossil fuels. The Dutch could have used the very same money for developing renewable energy and stimulating the efficient use of it.
ROLE OF BOTH ENDS
Both ENDS investigates the conditions or requirements that could be set and applied to the financing of gas projects by the EIB. Gas extraction causes significant environmental damage and violation of human rights impacts outside the European territory, but is nevertheless linked to infrastructural projects inside the EU like the Dutch gas roundabout for which the EIB provides finance.
The European Investment Bank and environmental supply chain impacts.: Legal opinion on environmental supply chain impacts caused outside the European territory but directly linked to European infrastructural, EIB financed projects,