Following a historic vote in parliament, the Norwegian Government on Tuesday announced its funding decision for the Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage project in Norway.

Northern Lights project - Equinor
Northern Lights project; Source: Equinor

The project will enable the shipping, reception, and sequestration of CO2 in geological strata in the Northern North Sea, approximately 2,600 meters below the seabed.

The funding decision demonstrates the Norwegian government’s strong support for the development of a Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) value chain, which is essential if Europe is to achieve its carbon neutrality targets.

Northern Lights will be the first of its kind – an open and available infrastructure enabling transport of CO2 from industrial capture sites to a terminal in Øygarden for intermediate storage before being transported by pipeline for permanent storage in a reservoir 2600 meters under the seabed.

The project is the transport and storage component of Longship, the Norwegian Government’s full-scale carbon capture and storage project.

Equinor, Shell, and Total made a conditional investment decision on the Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage project in May 2020.

Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, said: “Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is important to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. “Longship” is the largest climate project ever in the Norwegian industry and will contribute substantially to the development of CCS as an efficient mitigation measure”.

The project partners are now in the process of establishing a Joint Venture, (subject to merger clearance), which will be for all project activities, including business development.

The Northern Lights project includes the development and operation of CO2 transport and storage facilities, open to third parties. It will be the first-ever cross-border, open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure network and offers European industrial emitters the opportunity to store their CO2 safely and permanently underground.

Phase one of the project will be completed in mid-2024 with a capacity of up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Equinor CEO, Anders Opedal, said: “Northern Lights is a true pioneering project and the first of its kind offering a solution to cut emissions from industrial sources in Norway and Europe. We are ready to start realising this project that will be an important part of the climate solution. I want to thank the Norwegian government and for the broad political support in making this a reality. I am certain that we together with our partners and suppliers will make this project a success”.

Shell CEO, Ben van Beurden, said: “The Norwegian government’s initiative and support for what will be the world’s first open-source CO2, transport and storage project shows real vision and commitment. Northern Lights is designed to provide a service to industrial emitters who can now take action on emissions that can’t be avoided. This is key to bringing real progress towards tackling climate change. Shell will play our part in making this a reality”.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total, said: “The development of the carbon capture and sequestration value chain is essential to decarbonize Europe’s industries. We are a long-standing partner of Norway, a pioneer country which has more than 20 years of experience in CCS, and today we thank its government for making possible the final investment decision to develop Northern Lights.

“CCS is key to achieving carbon neutrality in Europe and is fully part of our Climate Ambition to get to net zero emissions by 2050”.

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