Northern Lights – Part of The Full-Scale CCS Project in Norway
The Northern Lights project is part of the Norwegian full-scale CCS project. The full-scale project includes capture of CO2 from industrial capture sources in the Oslo-fjord region (cement and waste-to-energy) and shipping of liquid CO2 from these industrial capture sites to an onshore terminal on the Norwegian west coast. From there, the liquified CO2 will be transported by pipeline to an offshore storage location subsea in the North Sea, for permanent storage.
The full-scale project is a result of The Norwegian government’s ambition to develop a full-scale CCS value chain in Norway by 2024. As part of this ambition the government issued feasibility studies on capture, transport and storage solutions in 2016. Combined, these studies showed the feasibility of realizing a full-scale CCS project. Based on this outcome the government decided to continue the development of the preferred concepts through a study agreement covering concept and FEED (front-end engineering and design) studies. Gassnova represents the Norwegian state and acts as the coordinating body. The studies cover:
Capture of CO2 at the waste-to-energy plant Fortum Oslo Varme in Oslo.
Capture of CO2 at the Norcem (Heidelberg Group) cement factory in Brevik.
The combined transport and storage solution, governed by the collaboration agreement between Equinor, Shell and Total in the Northern Lights Project.
Click here for more information about The Full-Scale CCS Project in Norway.
Northern Lights Project description
The pre-project (concept and FEED studies) is governed by a study agreement between Gassnova and Equinor. A collaboration agreement between Equinor, Shell and Total governs the study work and the preparations for establishing a Joint Venture Agreement at the time of a positive investment decision by the partners. Factors that would need to be in place to enable a positive investment decision are information on the quality and capacity of the reservoir which is to be acquired in the drilling of the exploration well in Q4 2019, and a commercial agreement with the state. Equinor is operator of the project, while Norske Shell and Total E&P Norge are equal partners. More than 150 people are currently working on the project, with representatives from all the partners.
The Northern Lights project comprises the transport and storage scope of the Norwegian Full-Scale CCS Project. Liquified and pressurized CO2 will be loaded from the capture site to the ships which will transport it to the Northern Lights onshore terminal at Naturgassparken in Norway. At the terminal, CO2 will be offloaded from the ship into onshore intermediate storage tanks. Buffering the CO2 in onshore intermediate storage tanks allows for continuous transport of CO2 by pipeline to the subsea well(s) for injection into a subsurface, geological storage complex. The Northern Lights project is planned to be developed in two phases.
Phase 1: Concept capacity to transport, inject and store up to 1.5 million tons of CO2 per annum.
Phase 2: Should market demand for storage support it, the NL JV partners will take a positive final investment decision to develop of Phase 2. Phase 2 would include capacity to receive, inject and store an additional 3.5 million tons of CO2 per annum, adding up to a total of 5 million tons of CO2 per annum.
Three critical factors for the total 5 million tons of CO2 capacity will be included already in phase 1, namely the basic functionality of the receiving terminal, offshore pipeline, and the umbilical to the offshore template. Both phases will offer flexibility to receive volumes from European CO2 sources, beyond the 800,000 tons per annum of CO2 which would come from The Norwegian CCS Full-Scale Project, assuming both of the initial Norwegian capture projects are realized (Fortum Oslo Varme and Norcem, each with 400,000 tons per annum). For more information on how the Northern Lights would enable decarbonization of industrial sources in Europe, please visit Business Opportunities.
Onshore facility at Naturgassparken
The Norwegian Government and CCS
The Northern Lights project supports the Norwegian Government in its ambition to realise a cost-effective solution for a full-scale capture, transport and storage of CO₂ network in Norway, providing technology development and dissemination in support of CCS both domestically and internationally. The Norwegian Government has demonstrated a strong, long standing leadership in realising full scale CCS. With support of the Norwegian Government, the Northern Lights project can provide realistic decarbonisation opportunities for the Norwegian and European industries.
The European Union and CCS
The Northern Lights project is instrumental in helping achieving the Commission's proposal for a 2030 climate and energy policy framework, which recognises the role of CCS in reaching the EU's long-term emissions reduction goal. CCS is one of the key technologies to deliver deep decarbonisation of Europe’s economy by 2050, as outlined in the EU’s long-term strategy paper “A Clean Planet for all”. CCS can enable significant emission cuts in the EU's energy and carbon-intensive sectors, namely industry, power production, heavy duty transport as well as energy storage. As process-related emissions are unavoidable in some sectors, CCS may be the only viable option to reduce direct emissions from industrial processes either through capturing exhaust emissions from the use of fossil fuel or its conversion to hydrogen. Importantly, several industries, like cement and waste-to-energy, will continue producing CO2 as a waste product also beyond the energy transition. CCS is particularly relevant in the context of increasing shares of intermittent renewable energy as a solution that can help balance the power system. In addition, the EU’s long-term strategy underlines the role of CCS in creating negative emissions when applied to bioenergy installations, which could facilitate the achievement of EU’s decarbonisation target.
To realise its potential and deliver the first commercial large-scale demonstration projects, the CCS solution needs continuous policy support. EU member states and the European Commission are working towards reinforcing the existing policy framework – including through the establishment of the EU ETS Innovation Fund that aims to demonstrate the viability of and help kick-start a full-scale European CCS network.