The Dutch supreme court has suspended plans to build Europe's largest gas storage facility pending further research on the safety of holding 4 billion cubic meters of gas underground.
The project by a consortium led by Taqa, owned by the Abu Dhabi national energy company, is part of a plan to make the Netherlands a European hub for storing natural gas. It calls for pumping gas into a depleted gas reservoir 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) deep.
The facility north of Amsterdam was due for completion in 2013.
The country's nature protection society and local residents objected to the plan. A smaller underground facility already exists nearby.
The court said Monday it was ordering a halt to all preparations so that no action is taken that is irreversible.