Carbon Caputure Recommended for Mongstad

The Norwegian Pollution Control Authority (SFT) has recommended to the Ministry of the Environment that requirements for carbon dioxide capture must be set for the planned combined heat and power station at the Mongstad refinery.

"It is regrettable that the SFT does not support our assessment that the Mongstad heat and power station is an environmental project which should get an emission permit without a requirement for capturing carbon dioxide," says Egil Sael, vice president for business development in Statoil's Manufacturing & Marketing business area.

"It remains to be seen what the government finally decides. The demand for carbon capture from day one means that it will not be possible to implement the project."

Plans call for the heat and power station to be built at Statoil's Mongstad refinery near Bergen. It would be run on natural gas from the Statoil-operated Troll A platform in the North Sea and on surplus gas from the refinery. The idea was to modify the present refinery to provide greater energy efficiency. The heat and power station would supply heat and electricity to the refinery, and electricity to the land-based and offshore Troll facilities.

"We do not intend to appeal against a decision in favor of carbon capture," says Mr. Sael.

"The project has been thoroughly discussed in directorates and high up in political circles and we see no reason why we should go through all that again."

In July, the Norwegian Water Resources and Energy Administration (NVE) granted Statoil a concession to construct a combined heat and power station and a 61-kilometer gas pipeline from the Gassco-operated processing facilities at Kollsnes, west of Bergen, to Mongstad. The NVE underlined the many positive aspects for society and the environment and did not stipulate requirements for storing carbon dioxide.

The combined heat and power station was planned as part of the upgrading of the Mongstad refinery.

"The project involves many parties and commercially complex agreements which will expire shortly," Mr. Sael notes. "Full clarity of the frame conditions must be available by 20 September. If the requirement for carbon capture is the final verdict then we see no possibility for extending our agreements."

Total investments are estimated at around NOK 4 billion. That includes the gas pipeline from Kollsnes, the upgrading of the refinery and the construction of the combined heat and power station which would be owned and run by Elsam of Denmark. The overall development is estimated to take just over three years.


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