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Carbon Capture & Storage: Northern Lights Summit

On June 23, 2022, the Northern Lights Summit was held in Norway for the upcoming launch of the project of the same title. Speakers discussed the progress they had made on the ground – building pipelines, storage tanks, ships, jetties and a visitor center to share knowledge – ready for launch in 2024. The project […]

von | 11.07.22

On June 23, 2022, the Northern Lights Summit was held in Norway for the upcoming launch of the project of the same title. Speakers discussed the progress they had made on the ground – building pipelines, storage tanks, ships, jetties and a visitor center to share knowledge – ready for launch in 2024. The project has strong support from industrial emitters, the Norwegian government and the EU.

Jumping into a swimming pool holding hands

The momentum for carbon capture and storage (CCS) has accelerated on all sides in the past year as Northern Lights starts to become a reality. That was reflected in discussions at this year’s Northern Lights Summit, with a focus on specific actions and the partnerships needed to move forward.

The Summit concluded that we had reached a moment of truth on delivering on CCS. “It’s like jumping into a swimming pool holding hands,” said Syrie Crouch, Shell’s representative on the Joint Ventures company meeting. “We’ve got to get a partnership going between the customer and the storage provider where we can’t put all the risk on one side or the other. The third partner in the conversation are the governments and they need to understand that industry is holding hands and trying to jump together.”

Bilateral agreements

Terje Aasland, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, talked about the progress of collaboration in Europe to accelerate momentum on CCS. He focused on what it would take for Europe to be able to leverage the additional storage resources Norway is developing on the back of the Longship/Northern Lights experience. In particular, he discussed the need for bilateral agreements between Norway and other countries that would enable the cross-border transport of CO2 and government funding mechanisms to create a market and open up opportunities for commercial players.

“The sharing of infrastructure for CO2 transport and storage will save time and money in the transition to a climate-neutral industrial sector in Europe.” That message was echoed by potential customers of Northern Lights who appealed for standardised bilateral agreements between emitting countries and Norway.

Key transformation technology

Industrial emitters were clear that their decarbonisation plans rely on CCS. Neil Carr, President of Dow Europe said CCS is “absolutely crucial” to reach Dow’s 2030 reduction targets and carbon neutrality by 2050.

“The only meaningful way of us being able to achieve anywhere close to the Fit for 55 goals is carbon capture. Without it, all the other areas we are looking at will not get us to that target.”

Deliver, rapidly and at low cost

On behalf of Northern Lights, Bruno Seilhan, VP CCS at co-owner TotalEnergies, summarised the message he is taking away from the Summit as “deliver, rapidly and at low cost”. That requires simplification and a step-by-step approach. Northern Lights has taken a first step by focusing on the residual emissions of hard-to-abate industries and targeting local emissions first with two Norwegian sources for the launch phase. Bilateral agreements will take out much of the complexity of importing CO2. Unbundling services and greater flexibility will also come over time, but first Northern Lights needs to deliver this nascent industry and it needs to be robust, in time and at cost.

Cross-border and open-source infrastructure network

Northern Lights is the transport and storage component of Norway’s Longship project, which includes capture of CO2 from industrial point sources in the Oslo region. Northern Lights ships the CO2 to an onshore terminal on the Norwegian west coast and, from there, transports the liquefied CO2 by pipeline to a subsea storage location in the North Sea. It will also offer companies across Europe the opportunity to store their CO2 safely and permanently deep under the seabed in Norway. When Northern Lights starts operations in 2024, it will be the first ever cross-border, open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure network. The project is Co-financed by the Connecting Europe Facility of the European Union.

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