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Shell, Total and Equinor give green light to major international CO₂ storage project

English translation of an article published this weekend by the Dutch Financial Times, the FD.

Shell, Total and Equinor give green light to major international CO₂ storage project

Bert van Dijk

Shell, together with the French oil and gas group Total and the Norwegian Equinor, has made a final investment decision for a large CO₂ storage project in Norway. The companies want to build infrastructure to transport captured CO₂ from industrial factories in Europe to Norway and store them there in a reservoir under the bottom of the North Sea.

Equinor will lead the project, which will store 1.5 million tons of CO₂ annually. The parties announced this on Friday. It is one of the largest CO₂ storage projects in the world.

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden during the commissioning of Shell’s CO₂ storage project in Canada at the end of 2015. Photo: Bert van Dijk

Contributing to achieving climate targets

Shell, Total and Equinor have now transferred their development plans, which they have been working on for years, to the Norwegian Ministry of Oil and Energy. He still has to give permission for the project.

The capture and storage of CO₂ is seen as an important way to contribute to achieving climate targets. Worldwide, however, there are only a limited number of commercial projects in operation, because there is no money to be made without a subsidy. According to the Global CCS Institute, a total of 51 large-scale CO₂ capture and storage projects were under development worldwide at the end of last year, of which approximately 19 are in operation.

At the end of 2015, Shell started a large CO₂ project in Alberta, Canada. This so-called Quest project stores 1 million tons of carbon dioxide every year, which is released during the processing of heavy oil from the Canadian tar sands into fuel and other oil products. The major sponsor of this storage project is the Canadian government.

CO₂ by ship to Norway

The project in Norway will be developed in phases. According to the companies, the entire so-called Northern Lights project is expected to involve an investment of converted € 625 million in the first phase. This phase involves building capacity to transport CO₂ by ship and via pipelines in a large empty gas field for the Norwegian coast to inject. There will be a special terminal in Øygarden in western Norway for this.

Initially, this concerns approximately 1.5 million tons of CO₂ per year. The intention is to further expand capacity in the future as more demand comes from industrial emitters in Europe.

Operational in 2024

The three parties have already concluded non-binding agreements with European companies to develop a value chain for the capture and storage of CO₂.

If the Norwegian government gives the green light, phase 1 of the project could be operational in 2024.


Also read

Shell joins CO2 storage in Norway

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