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Equinor, Shell and Total to invest $680m in Northern Lights CCS project

Oil and gas giants Equinor, Shell and Total have taken the decision to make initial investments of nearly NOK 6.9 billion ($680 million) in the Northern Lights CCS project, the first-ever carbon capture and storage project (CCS Project) on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Equinor said that plans for development and operation of the CCS project have been submitted to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.

The investment decision wraps up the study phase during which the three oil and gas giants are said to have closely worked with Norwegian authorities to carry out engineering studies and project planning, drill a confirmation well and develop the required agreements. Following the investment decision, the trio plan to set up a joint venture company.

Syrie Crouch – vice president for CCUS in Shell said: “CCS is a crucial technology to help society and economies thrive through the energy transition. Shell is active in all parts of the CCS value chain and Northern Lights further strengthens our global CCS portfolio.

“We appreciate the leadership shown by the Norwegian Government to accelerate the development of CCS value chains and believe that the Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage solution has the potential to unlock investment in capture projects across Europe.”

Northern Lights CCS project in Norway

Illustration of the Northern Lights CCS project in Norway. Image courtesy of Equinor ASA.

The Northern Lights CCS project will be developed in a phased manner with the first phase to include capacity for transportation, injection and storage of up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

After the CO2 is captured onshore by industrial CO2-emitters, the Northern Lights project will take over the responsibility of transporting the gas by ships before injection and permanent storage about 2,500 metres below the seabed.

The associated CO2 receiving terminal will be situated at the premises of Naturgassparken industrial area in the municipality of Øygarden in Western Norway. The plant will be operated remotely from Equinor’s facilities at the Sture terminal in Øygarden and also the subsea facilities from Oseberg A platform located in the North Sea.

The Northern Lights CCS project will enable further phases for expanding capacity. Investments to be made in the subsequent phases of the CCS project will be triggered by market demand from large CO2 emitters in Europe, said Equinor.

The company said that the investment decision is subject to final investment decision by Norwegian authorities and also approval from the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA). Phase 1 of the Northern Lights CCS project is likely to be operational in 2024, if the project gets a positive final investment decision from the Norwegian Government this year.

Anders Opedal – executive vice president for Equinor Technology, Projects & Drilling 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. Development of CCS projects will also represent new activities and industrial opportunities for Norwegian and European industries.”

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