Equinor Gets Licenses To Develop CO2 Storage Sites

Equinor Gets Licenses To Develop CO2 Storage Sites
Equinor has been awarded the operatorships for the development of CO2 storage Smeaheia in the North Sea and Polaris in the Barents Sea.

Norwegian energy major Equinor has been awarded the operatorships for the development of CO2 storage Smeaheia in the North Sea and Polaris in the Barents Sea.

Equinor said that the two licenses were important building blocks for developing the Norwegian continental shelf into a leading province for CO2 storage in Europe. The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced the award of CO2 licenses on April 5 with Equinor being awarded the operatorship.

"We are now building on more than 25 years of experience from CO2 capture and storage on the Norwegian continental shelf and we regard the award as an important milestone in the work to make the Norwegian continental shelf a leading province in Europe for CO2 storage,” says Irene Rummelhoff, Equinor’s executive vice president for Marketing, Midstream, and Processing.

“We see that demand for CO2 storage is increasing in several countries, and we want to get started with developing new CO2 storage quickly so that we can offer industrial solutions that can contribute to decarbonization in Europe," she added.

In its application, Equinor has submitted plans to develop the CO2 storage capacity in Smeaheia at 20 million tons annually, which entails a sharp increase in the capacity to store CO2 on a commercial basis on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Northern Lights, the CO2 storage facility in the Longship project, has a planned injection capacity of 1.5 million tons a year in Phase 1 available from 2024 with plans to develop the capacity to 5-6 million tons a year from around 2026.

Through these two projects, Equinor aims to contribute to CO2 reductions equivalent to half of Norway's annual emissions. Equinor has ambitions to develop further storage licenses in the North Sea in the coming years to build a common, pipeline-based infrastructure that can contribute to substantial cost reductions for the CCS value chains.

"We are pleased that the Norwegian authorities have made storage areas available with a basis in commercial industries. Rapid scale-up of CO2 storage at Smeaheia is essential to meet the interest and need for this type of service and to ensure storage needs from low-carbon projects in Norway," says Rummelhoff.

Safe capture and storage of CO2 is also a prerequisite and enabler for developing blue hydrogen and ammonia from natural gas. With CCS, blue hydrogen and ammonia can eliminate emissions from the use of gas, thus ensuring access to large amounts of low-carbon and reliable energy. With the use of CCS, emissions can also be significantly reduced from gas-fired power plants.

In the Barents Sea, about 60 miles off the coast of Finnmark, lies the CO2 storage Polaris. The storage is a key part of the Barents Blue project which Equinor is developing in collaboration with Vår Energi and Horisont Energi.

The project is developing an ammonia production facility at Markoppneset in Hammerfest that will reform natural gas from the Barents Sea to clean, blue ammonia using carbon capture and storage. The first stage of the development includes the capture, transport, and storage of two million tons of CO2 each year.

Equinor has the ambition to develop value chains for CO2 transport and storage with an annual capacity of 15-30 million tons of CO2 within 2035.

To contact the author, email bojan.lepic@rigzone.com


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