It was in 1996 that Statoil (now Equinor) commenced CO2 storage deep under the sea bed in the Utsira formation of the North Sea. This project, called the Sleipner CCS Project, was triggered by one of the world’s first carbon taxes, introduced for the oil and gas sector by the Norwegian Government in 1991.
Since that first successful large-scale demonstration of CO2 storage, the Norwegian government, industry and academia have continued to develop CCS in multiple ways. This work was made possible by financing from the Norwegian Government, in the form of research programmes and direct subsidies, and by co-financing by the industry.
In 2012, the world’s largest test centre for CO2 capture, Technology Center of Mongstad (TCM), was inaugurated.
TCM has proven to be a success, the Full-scale CCS project in Norway will take the
research and achievements to the next level – making them practical, applicable
and appealing to the rest of the world.
This political willpower and investment have been combined with Norway’s natural geographical advantages, which are by no means unique. The storage potential of offshore Norway, where oil and gas have been trapped under sealing rock formations for millions of years, is enormous. The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate has already mapped the CO2 storage potential of the Norwegian continental shelf.
The Norwegian Government’s policy platform from Granavolden (January,
2019) states that it will “develop technology for capture and storage of
CO2 and have an ambition of realising a
cost-effective solution for full-scale CCS in Norway, provided that the project
leads to technology development in an international perspective”.
Consequently, the long-term goal for the Full-scale CCS project in Norway is simple.
The project shall contribute to the development of CCS in order to reach long term climate goals in Norway and the EU in a cost-effective manner.
In the short-term the Full-scale CCS project in Norway’s objective is to demonstrate that CCS, as a climate mitigation tool, can be implemented – technically, regulatory and commercially. It will also demonstrate that CCS is safe, by monitoring injection wells and by avoiding emissions from the capture site.
Commercial viability will require government support for this project, but cost reduction and business model development will be key for further deployment of CCS. The Full-scale CCS project will reduce the cost of future projects by sharing knowledge and experiences, and by establishing an infrastructure for CO2 transport and storage, with spare capacity.
The Full-scale CCS project in Norway also aims to serve as a platform for further business development for future projects, as it enables further development of other low carbon products.
The Full-scale CCS project in Norway is actively working to achieve these project goals. All industrial partners are involved in this program, which has been named “benefits realisation”. Gassnova is coordinating this work program.