Norway makes moves with CO2 storage, hydrogen and ammonia

The Norwegian Ministry of Energy has announced four new exploration licenses related to CO2 storage on the Norwegian continental shelf in the North Sea.

Two are offered to Equinor ASA, one to a group consisting of Vår Energi ASA, OMV (Norge) AS and Lime Petroleum AS, and one licence to a group consisting of Aker BP ASA and PGNiG Upstream Norway AS.

Terje Aasland, Minister of Energy, said the government is committed to ensuring that CO2 storage can become a commercially profitable and sustainable ocean industry in Norway.

He said, “For the players to succeed with their ambitious plans, the storage part of the value chain must also be in place. Today’s awards are therefore a new, important step towards establishing Norway as a leading player in large-scale commercial CO2 storage for European emission sources.”

The licences are offered with a binding work programme which ensures fast and efficient progress, or return of the areas if the licenses do not carry out the storage project.

“The awards are given to companies that have matured good, industrial plans,” added Aasland. “The interest for new storage space by several players in the industry, makes me optimistic for the future work of making CO2 storage one part of the solution to the worlds’ climate challenges.”

Activities aimed at surveying and exploring for subsea reservoirs for the storage of CO2, as well as exploitation, transport, and storage of CO2 in such reservoirs on the Norwegian continental shelf are subject to the regulations on transportation and storage of CO2 into subsea reservoirs on the continental shelf (regulation 5th December 2014 no. 1517).

Anyone conducting such storage operations needs a permit in accordance with the regulations.

In addition, on February 20th, 2020, the Petroleum Safety Authority established regulations on safety and the working environment for the transport and storage of CO2 on the continental shelf (the CO2 safety regulations).

The government will conduct a process to award industrial players access to relevant storage options. Areas that are relevant for awards will be announced, to ensure competition.

Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies are investing in the Northern Lights project, billed as Norway’s first licence for CO₂ storage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, and a major part of the Longship initiative – whose total investments are estimated at NOK17.1bn.

Norway aims to cut domestic emissions by 50-55% by 2030.

Hydrogen and ammonia investment

Norwegian state-owned Enova has announced NOK1.2bn ($113m) will be allocated to nine hydrogen vessels and six ammonia vessels.

The selected ammonia companies include Høegh Autoliners and Amon Gas, whilst Maris Fiducia, Møre Sjø, Napier and Halten Bulk will lead the hydrogen project.

Enova launched the ‘Hydrogen in Vessels’ and ‘Ammonia in Vessels’ last December (2023), in order to establish the first functioning value chains for ammonia and hydrogen maritime purposes.

The programmes supported both new vessels and converted hydrogen and ammonia ships, with applicants ranked according to cost-effectiveness (70%) and project maturity (30%). Projects can receive up to 80% of approved additional costs, increased from the previous 40%.

Höegh Autoliners was granted NOK109.4m in increased Enova funding as part of its Ammonia fuelled vessel programme, to ensure that four of its Aurora Class vessels can run fully on ammonia when they are delivered in 2027.

Andreas Enger, CEO of Höegh Autoliners, said, “We believe it is important for shipping companies to send a clear signal to the rest of the value chain that the technology can be realised in a short time and that there will be demand for carbon-neutral fuel.”

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