Equinor, Shell and Total Invest in CO2 Storage
Equinor, Shell and Total have decided to invest in Norway’s Northern Lights CO2 storage project. Initial investments will total almost 6.9 million Norwegian kroner, or just under $700 million, and the facilities will be developed in phases.
The decision just made concludes the study phase, during which the companies worked with the Norwegian authorities to conduct engineering studies and project planning, drill a confirmation well and develop the necessary agreements.
The three partners now intend to establish a joint venture. Following their decision to proceed, a final investment decision is required from the Norwegian authorities along with approval from the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority.
“This unique project opens for decarbonization 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,” said Anders Opedal, Equinor’s executive vice president for technology, projects & drilling.
If the Norwegian government gives the go-ahead this year, the first phase of the project, which includes capacity to transport, inject and store up to 1.5 million t/y of CO2, is expected to be operational in 2024. Once the gas is captured onshore, Northern Lights will be responsible for shipping the CO2, then injecting and permanently storing it some 2,500 meters below the seabed.
A receiving terminal for the CO2 will be located in the Naturgassparken industrial area in 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 the Oseberg A platform in the North Sea.
The facility will allow for further expansion, and future investments will be triggered by market demand, the partners said. A second phase would include capacity to receive, inject and store an extra 3.5 million t/y of CO2.
Equinor has already signed non-binding Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with several European companies to develop value chains in carbon capture and storage. The group said binding commercial agreements will depend on a positive investment decision from Norwegian authorities and for individual third-party projects.
Last September, Air Liquide announced it had signed an MoU with Equinor, Shell and Total to explore collaborating in the project. However, the French gases group has made no further mention of it since then.