Image courtesy Northern Lights

Dedicated CO2 Carriers Ordered for Norway’s Northern Lights Carbon Capture and Storage Project

Mike Schuler
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October 11, 2021

Developers behind Norway’s full-scale Northern Lights carbon capture and storage project have placed a shipbuilding order for the construction of two dedicated CO2 carriers in China.

The ships are said to be the first of their kind and could potentially set a new standard for CO2 shipping on coastal trading routes.

The order was placed by the Northern Lights joint venture, made up of Equinor, Shell and TotalEnergies, at China’s Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. with deliveries planned by mid-2024.

The 130-meter-long vessels will come with 7,500 m3 of cargo capacity and be specially designed to transport liquid CO2 with purpose-built pressurized cargo tanks. The ships will run on dual-fuel LNG and come with a wind assisted propulsion system and air lubrication to reduce carbon intensity by around 34% compared to conventional systems.

“The award of these contracts is a significant milestone for Northern Lights. The use of ships will enable the development of a flexible and efficient European infrastructure network for transport of CO2 captured by our industrial customers, keeping costs as low as possible to help decarbonization scale up,” says Børre Jacobsen, Managing Director of Northern Lights JV. “I am also very pleased that these ships will be built to keep their own emissions to a minimum through use of innovative technology.”

The ships will be registered in Norway (NOR), operated by Northern Lights under Norwegian flag, and classed by DNV.

For the carbon capture and storage project, Northern Lights is in the process of developing the infrastructure to transport CO2 from European industrial emitters by ship to a receiving terminal in western Norway for intermediate storage, before being transported by pipeline for permanent storage in a geological reservoir 2,600 meters under the seabed. Operations are scheduled to start in 2024.

Once in operation, the ships will load captured and liquefied CO2 and transport it to the Northern Lights receiving terminal in Øygarden, Western Norway. The CO2 volumes will be accurately measured and reported throughout the value chain, as well as independently verified in order to provide the necessary documentation to regulators and customs officials.

“As a shipyard since 1898, DSIC has always been innovative and designed and delivered many record-breaking projects. Responding to the low emission strategy, DSIC worked together with Northern Lights for the development of the selected technical solutions over the last two years. The cooperation and efforts by both parties has been materialized in the award of these contracts today. Taking this opportunity, DSIC will devote ourselves to delivery of these pioneering projects in a safe, high-quality and timely manner and assist Northern Lights on the ambitions of low carbon emission,” says Riqiang Hu, Marketing Director of DSIC.

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