In the town of Øygarden, on an island very close to Bergen (western Norway), a terminal under construction will receive tons of liquefied CO2 within a few years, transported by sea from the Old Continent after being captured at the exit of the factory chimneys.
2,600 meters below the seabed
From there, the carbon will be injected via a pipeline into geological cavities 2,600 meters below the seabed. With the ambition to remain there indefinitely.
It is “the first open access transport and storage infrastructure in the world, which allows any emitter that has captured its CO2 emissions to see it permanently cared for, transported and stored in complete safety”, underlines the project manager, Sverre Overå.
The largest hydrocarbon producer in Western Europe, Norway would also have the continent’s greatest CO2 storage potential, particularly … in its depleted oil fields.
The Øygarden terminal is part of the “Langskip” plan, the Norwegian name for Viking ships. Oslo has financed 80% of the infrastructures, putting 1.7 billion euros on the table to develop CCS in the country. To do this, energy giants Equinor, TotalEnergies and Shell have entered into a partnership, called Northern Lights, which will be the world’s first cross-border CO2 transport and storage service when it goes into operation in 2024.
Transport on ships and oil pipelines
In recent days, two important milestones have been achieved for CCS in Norway.
On Monday, Northern Lights partners announced a first cross-border trade agreement that will involve the transport on special vessels and the seizure, each year, of 800,000 tonnes of CO2 captured in a Dutch plant of fertilizer producer Yara since 2025..
The following day, Equinor presented Germany’s Wintershall Dea with a plan to build a 900-kilometer gas pipeline to transport CO2 from Germany to storage in Norway. A similar project with Belgium is already in the pipeline.
Necessary tool according to IPCC
However, CCS is not a miracle solution to global warming. In its first phase, Northern Lights will be able to process 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year, a capacity which will then be increased to 5-6 million tonnes. By comparison, the European Union, according to the European Environment Agency, emitted 3.7 billion tons of greenhouse gases in 2020, a year burdened by the pandemic.