Norwegian multinational energy company Equinor has been awarded an exploitation permit for CO2 storage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The Norwegian Government announced the news on Friday, allocating an area close to the Troll oil and gas field in the North Sea. The allocation is made under the CO2-storage regulations from December 2014.

The storage is a key element of the planned full-scale project with carbon capture and storage of CO2 (CCS) in Norway.

Equinor is currently performing front-end engineering and design (FEED)-studies on storage with project partners Shell and Total.

“The government has an ambition to realise a cost effective solution for full-scale CCS in Norway, given that this will result in international technology development,” said Kjell-Børge Freiberg, Minister of Petroleum and Energy.

“The companies’ effort to mature a storage solution is a prerequisite for a successful project.”

The allocation of an exploitation permit is necessary to continue the FEED-studies for a CO2-storage solution. The FEED-studies will also provide more accurate cost estimates necessary for an investment decision.

“This is the first exploitation permit for storing CO2 on the Norwegian Continental Shelf,” said Gassnova (Norway’s state enterprise for CCS) CEO Trude Sundset.

“The permit is an important milestone in Norway’s major climate project for capturing, transporting and storing CO2 from the industry.”

How it will work

Equinor’s storage project will take CO2 captured from three onshore industrial facilities in eastern Norway and transport it by ship to a receiving plant onshore located on the west coast of Norway. Here CO2 will be pumped from the ship to tanks onshore, prior to being sent through pipelines on the seabed to several injection wells east of the Troll field on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The CO2 will be stored permanently up to 2,000 metres below the seabed.

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Source: Equinor

The reservoir surveyed for CO2 storage has the capacity to accommodate significant additional volumes and could lower the barrier for emitters in Europe to realise their first CCS projects. The Norwegian project may be the start of the world’s first CCS network across national borders.

The development of  CO2 storage may also help create a hydrogen market. Hydrogen is a zero emission fuel that can potentially be used for power generation, heating and as a transportation fuel. When hydrogen is produced from natural gas, it generates CO2 as a by-product. A functioning CO2 capture, transportation and storage network would make it easier to develop a full-scale value chain for hydrogen.

Next steps

Equinor, together with project partners Shell and Total, will now mature the storage concept towards a Plan for Development and Operations (PDO) scheduled for delivery in 2019.

An investment decision for the Norwegian full-scale CCS project is expected in 2020/2021.