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Norwegian energy company Equinor has been awarded licenses for two underground CO2 storage sites on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS), described as “important building blocks” in Norway’s CO2 transport and storage infrastructure (CCS) ambitions.
Norway’s Ministry of Petroleum and Energy announced the award of CO2 licenses on Tuesday with Equinor as the operator. Known as “Smeaheia” in the North Sea and “Polaris” in the Barents Sea, the two sites will serve as the storage sites for CO2 captured from industrial customers and can help to reduce Norway’s annual emissions.
In its application, Equinor submitted plans for 20 million tonnes of annual CO2 storage capacity at the Smeaheia site, representing a sharp increase in the capacity to store CO2 on a commercial basis on the Norwegian. Northern Lights, the CO2 storage facility in the Longship project, has a planned injection capacity of 1.5 million tonnes a year in Phase 1, available from 2024, with plans to develop the capacity to 5-6 million tonnes a year from around 2026.
Located in the Barents Sea about 100 km from the coast of Finnmark, the Polaris site will receive approximately two million tonnes of CO2 per year during stage one. 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.
Through the two projects, Equinor aims to contribute to CO2 reductions equivalent to half of Norway’s annual emissions, with plans to develop further storage licenses in the North Sea in the coming years as well as the construction of common, pipeline-based infrastructure.
“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. We see that demand for CO2 storage is increasing in several countries, and we want to get started with developing new CO2 storages quickly, so that we can offer industrial solutions that can contribute to decarbonisation in Europe,” says Irene Rummelhoff, executive vice president for Marketing, Midstream and Processing (MMP).
Equinor has an ambition to develop value chains for CO2 transport and storage with an annual capacity of 15-30 million tonnes of CO2 within 2035.
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