Norwegian carbon capture projects gather pace

  • Market: Emissions, Fertilizers, Hydrogen
  • 30/08/22

Oil and gas companies and carbon-intensive industry this week agreed to further develop three separate Norwegian carbon capture and storage (CCS) projects — a step up in commercial focus on the technology.

Norwegian fertiliser producer Yara and Norway's Northern Lights CCS project signed what the latter said is the world's first commercial agreement for cross-border CO2 transport and storage. Yara will from early 2025 capture, compress and liquefy 800,000 t/yr of CO2 from its Sluiskil ammonia production facility in the Netherlands. The carbon will then be transported to the Northern Lights storage site off the coast of western Norway.

"Yara, our first commercial customer, will fill the available capacity of Northern Lights Phase 1. This agreement will establish a market for CO2 transport and storage," Northern Lights managing director Borre Jacobsen said.

Northern Lights is the transport and storage segment of the Longship project. The Norwegian government has provided 80pc of the funding. Shell, TotalEnergies and Norway's state-controlled Equinor are joint partners in the Northern Lights project.

Equinor and German oil company Wintershall Dea have separately agreed to develop a CCS chain — called NOR-GE — connecting German industrial carbon emitters with CO2 storage sites offshore Norway. The firms plan to jointly apply for offshore CO2 storage on the Norwegian continental shelf, with the aim to store 15mn-20mn t/yr of CO2. The companies plan to commission a 900km pipeline to connect a CO2 collection hub in northern Germany with the Norwegian storage sites by 2032. The project's capacity is expected to be 20mn-40mn t/yr of CO2 — around 20pc of German industrial emissions. The firms will also consider an early deployment solution to move CO2 by ship.

The third project — Errai — will involve UK-based, private equity-back upstream oil and gas firm Neptune joining forces with Norwegian blue hydrogen and ammonia firm Horisont Energi to store 4mn-8mn t/yr of CO2, with the potential to increase this. The project includes an onshore terminal for intermediate CO2 storage, as well as permanent offshore storage. Neptune plans to store more carbon than it emits by 2030 — from its operations and sold products. It has plans for a CCS storage and appraisal licence in the UK and has agreed to work with several partners on a Dutch CCS project.

Norway, which has suitable offshore storage sites for CO2, is leading Europe in the development of a CCS industry. The technology is likely to be key in reaching net zero emissions globally, particularly in decarbonising heavy industry. But others see CCS as problematic, allowing emitters to abate rather than avoid CO2 emissions.

And the London Protocol — which prohibits the export of waste to other states for dumping or incineration at sea — could pose a challenge to cross-border CO2 transport. There is an amendment for CO2 export for storage under certain conditions, but it has not been ratified by all signatories to the agreement. Any cross-border CO2 transport requires a bilateral agreement between the importing and exporting countries, as well as a declaration submitted to the International Maritime Organisation.


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