Oslo, Norway – The Global CCS Institute has welcomed the positive investment decision by project partners Equinor, Shell, and Total to move ahead Norway’s flagship CO2 transport and storage project, Northern Lights. The project has now been handed over to the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy for Government approval.
“This positive decision is not only a step in the right direction for CCS but also pushes ahead an urgently needed solution for European industrial emissions”, said Brad Page, CEO, Global CCS Institute. “CCS is not only an essential climate mitigation technology but also a driver of economic growth and employment” he added, noting the project will generate significant number of jobs for Norwegian industry, with the projects partners estimating 57 percent of the investment going to Norwegian contractors.
The project, which is run by Equinor in partnership with Shell and Total, will provide CO2 storage as part of the Full-Scale CCS project in Norway. The project will be developed in stages, with phase one developing the infrastructure to transport, inject and store up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2024. It will provide the necessary infrastructure for the first large-scale CO2 capture in the waste-to-energy and cement industries, both of which are so far largely overlooked in climate efforts but whose decarbonization is crucial. Cement production alone produces eight per cent of global CO2 emissions, while waste is becoming a growing environmental problem.
“The FID by the Government of Norway is expected later this year and will be among the last steps before the project can break ground. We are, of course, hoping for a green light from the Government so this important flagship project can be built as a successful example of leveraging public-private partnerships for innovative decarbonisation through CCS. This project is of utmost global importance”, said Page.
Late 2019, a test well was drilled, and suitability of the rock formation was confirmed in March 2020. Last year, seven companies from various European industries joined the Full-Scale project via memoranda of understanding (MoUs). A major hurdle posed by the London Protocol, preventing the cross-border transport and export of CO2 for geologic storage offshore, was overcome in October. Northern Lights was also designated a Project of Common Interest (PCI) by the European Union (EU).
Northern Lights, which could eventually capture and store up to 5 million tonnes of CO2, will boost European CCS efforts and accelerate progress towards meeting Europe’s climate neutrality goals. It is envisioned to become an offshore CO2 storage hub for Europe unlocking investment in carbon mitigation initiatives across the continent.
Currently, there are 19 CCS operating CCS facilities globally. A further 32, including the Northern Lights Project, are in various stages of development.
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About the Global CCS Institute: The Global CCS Institute is an international think tank whose mission is to accelerate the deployment of carbon capture and storage (CCS), a vital technology to tackle climate change and provide energy security. For more information, visit www.globalccsinstitute.com
Today, the Norwegian Government announced its revised budget and committed to continue the development of industrial CCS. This press release has been published on Gassnova's website. Gassnova is a member of the Global CCS Institute.
Source: Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy
The Government proposes to fund FEED studies (Front End Engineering and Design studies) with 80 million NOK in 2018.The total funding for the demonstration project in 2018 amounts to 280 million NOK, including funds transferred from 2017. The proposed funds for 2018 will cover FEED studies of CO2 transport, storage and up to two capture facilities.
Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the International Energy Agency (IEA) point to CCS as a necessary option to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in line with the climate goals at the lowest possible costs.
In the years to come, the climate challenge demands a great effort, which will have to be met within a tighter scope in the budgets. Considerable resources are prioritized for climate options in the Norwegian government budgets. A decision to contribute to financing investment in and operation of a Norwegian full-chain CCS project has to be weighed against other climate measures. The Government has to choose effective measures that maximize the mitigation effect in a cost efficient manner.
The Government has appraised the demonstration project for CO2 capture and storage since 2015. In the autumn 2017, Norcem, Yara and Fortum Oslo Varme concluded concept studies on CO2 capture at their industrial sites. These concept studies have now been reviewed through the external quality assurance process for large Governmental projects. The Government is offering Norcem, a subsidiary of Heidelberg Cement, state aid to study CO2-capture at its cement plant in Brevik. Of the three CO2 capture projects evaluated, Norcem has the best conditions for a successful implementation. Norcem has demonstrated project execution abilities and relatively low cost per tonne CO2 captured compared to the other two capture projects. The cement industry is also a significant contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.
The external quality assurance considered Fortum Oslo Varme's original project to have greater implementation risks. These are related to, inter alia, the length of the pipeline, public perception of having emissions of amines close to a city and the project management experience in the organisation. Further, cost estimates are considerably higher, compared to the other two. These are factors weighing against proposing funding for further studies at their plant. However, Fortum Oslo Varme has provided updated information, which is now being assessed by the external quality assurer. Following this assessment, the Government will consider whether to offer FOV support for FEED.
The Government does not recommend continued studies on CO2-capture at Yara's ammonia plant at Herøya in Porsgrunn. Yara's project has a smaller learning potential compared to the two others, and some uncertainties concerning the plant. Yara considers that it does not make sense industrially to continue the planning of their project.
Throughout FEED the demonstration project will mature further. Uncertainties and risks will be reduced and cost estimates will reach a higher level of certainty. Statoil, Total and Shell are cooperating on the studies of CO2-transport and storage, which will be continued as planned into FEED.
When FEED is completed, the Government will make a new assessment of the demonstration project and propose to Stortinget to decide upon a potential investment decision. The Government's ambition is to realize a cost effective solution for CCS in Norway, provided this results in technology development internationally.
- We have reached a milestone in the Norwegian CCS demonstration project. I am very pleased to announce our continued commitment to CCS, although many issues remain to be resolved through FEED. To bring forward reasonable cost estimates and contribute to global knowledge dissemination and technology development, says Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Søviknes.
A potential investment decision will impound a large share of the budget for several years to come. Without considerable support from other sources it will be challenging to finance a demonstration project for CO2 capture and storage in Norway. It is a prerequisite that the companies involved take a share of the costs and risks in the project. Further, it will be necessary to establish a cooperation to support the project, for example with the EU.
Both the Government and the industrial participants in the project are concerned with giving the project sufficient time in the planning phase. After the concept studies, the timeline for the project suggests that a potential investment decision may be taken in 2020/2021.
The external quality assurer considers the project to be economically unviable. The demonstration project must reach acceptable cost estimates and demonstrate a probability that other projects will follow, and benefit from the learnings of this project. Therefore, it will be of great importance that the companies involved in the project succeed with presenting a basis for the investment decision that facilitates a successful implementation of the project.