The Netherlands: The Rotterdam — Eemshaven Debate
Plans to import liquefied natural gas into the Netherlands were first drawn up in the early 1970s and resulted in the initiation of studies and discussions on various aspects of LNG technology. The siting question, however, was not an urgent one until 1977, when a contract was signed with the Algerian company Sonatrach to import 4 billion m3 of LNG per year, for a 20-year period starting in 1983. Following extensive political discussions at various levels, an LNG terminal site at Eemshaven, in the northern province of Groningen, was finally selected and approved by the Dutch cabinet and parliament in 1978 (Tweede Kamer 1978). This decision outcome was significant because Eemshaven only became a serious candidate in late 1977; detailed studies and policy advice to and within the government (including the cabinet) had previously focused on Maasvlakte in the Rotterdam harbor area, as the preferred terminal site (see Figure 4.1).
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