German state government to mediate in Bayer CO pipeline project

15 July 2010 19:50  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--The new government in Germany’s largest state, North Rhine-Westphalia, will seek to mediate between Bayer MaterialScience and affected residents to find a comprehensive solution for the company's carbon monoxide (CO) pipeline project there, it said on Thursday.

The state’s new prime minister (“Ministerpraesident”), Hannelore Kraft, introduced her cabinet – a coalition between the Social Democrats and the environmentalist Green party - on Thursday. In a coalition agreement, the parties also commented on the pipeline.

The CO pipeline will connect Bayer’s chemical production sites in Krefeld-Uerdingen and Dormagen. The project is largely complete, but a court has barred the company from starting it up after residents filed objections.

Bayer spokesman Jorg Bruckner told ICIS that his company was confident of being allowed to operate the pipeline project, which exceeded existing safety standards. 

However, Bayer could not provide a specific timeline for when the pipeline was expected to begin operations, as the court had yet to issue a final ruling, he said.

As for the new state coalition government, Bayer was working with all parties, no matter which ones formed the government, he said.

In their agreement, Social Democrats and Greens said previous court decisions on the pipeline had noted “safety deficits.”

The new government would not ignore the concerns and fears of affected residents, they said.

But at the same time, it was important to maintain and create jobs at the state’s chemical sites, they said, adding that an expansion of CO production capacity at Krefeld-Uerdingen should also be evaluated.

Many critics of the pipeline had looked to the new government to stop the project after a previous conservative state government under Jurgen Ruttgers had consistently backed it, despite strong resistance from many affected residents.

The two parties also said it would make sense to further develop carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, even though the technology was not likely to help the state cut carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the near term.

Still, the governing parties saw the potential for North Rhine-Westphalia to separate CO2 emissions and re-use it in industrial processes, they said.

In related news, Germany’s federal government this week proposed a draft for a legal framework to develop CCS projects in the country.

More information about Bayer's CO pipeline is available in a special section on the company's corporate website.

For more on Bayer and other producers visit ICIS company intelligence
To discuss issues facing the chemical industry go to ICIS connect

By: Stefan Baumgarten
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