Equinor, Shell and Total have announced plans to invest almost $6.9bn in the Northern Lights project in Norway’s first exploitation licence for CO2 storage on the Norwegian Continental Shell.

The investment decision would conclude the study phase during which Equinor, Shell and Total worked closely with Norwegian authorities to conduct engineering studies and project planning, drill a confirmation well and develop the necessary agreements.

Anders Opedal, Executive Vice-President for Technology, Projects & Drilling at Equinor, said, “The Northern Lights project could become the first step to develop a value chain for carbon capture and storage (CCS) which is vital to reach the global climate goals of the Paris Agreement.”

“The unique project opens for decarbonisation of industries with limited opportunities for CO2-reductions. It can be the first CO2 storage for Norwegian and European industries and can support goals to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050.”

The investment decision is subject to final investment decision by Norwegian authorities and approval from the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).

About the Northern Lights project

The Northern Lights project will be developed in phases. Phase 1 includes capacity to transport, inject and store up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Once the CO2 is captured onshore by industrial CO2-emitters, Northern lights will be responsible for transport by ships, injection and permanent storage some 2,500 metres below the seabed. 

The CO2 receiving terminal will be located at the premises of Naturgassparken industrial area in the municipality of Øygarden in Western Norway.

The plant will be remotely operated from Equinor’s facilities at the Sture terminal in Øygarden and the subsea facilities from Oseberg A platform in the North Sea.

The facility will allow for further phases to expand capacity. Investments in subsequent phases will be triggered by market demand from large CO2 emitters across Europe.

If the project receives a positive final investment decision from the Norwegian Government in 2020, Phase 1 is expected to be operational in 2024.