Equinor Bags 2 CO2 Storage Licenses in North Sea

Equinor ASA has been awarded licenses for the development of two new carbon dioxide (CO2) storage areas in the North Sea by the Norwegian Ministry of Energy.
Equinor was awarded 100 percent share in each of the two licenses, referred to as Albondigas and Kinno. The new licenses are important building blocks for developing the Norwegian Continental Shelf into a leading area for CO2 storage in Europe, the company said in a news release.
The new licenses are each expected to have the capacity to store around 5 million tons of CO2 per year once operational. The estimate will be further determined in the exploration phase, according to the release.
“We are very pleased to see the Norwegian authorities have made new CCS [carbon capture and storage] acreage available for exploration and that we have been awarded these two licenses,” Grete Tveit, senior vice president for Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor, said. “We see that demand for CO2 storage is increasing in several countries, and it is crucial to bring forward new CO2 storages quickly, so that we can offer industrial solutions that can support large scale decarbonization of hard-to-abate industries in Europe”.
Equinor said it expects a rate of four to eight percent real base project returns for its early phase CO2 storage business, and further value uplift potential when commercial markets are developed. The company added that it has ambitions to develop more storage licenses in the North Sea in the coming years.
Further, Equinor is maturing a ship-based solution as well as a large pipeline to connect industrial emissions in Europe with storage opportunities on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The planned pipeline, named CO2 Highway Europe, will have capacity to transport 25 million to 35 million tons of CO2 per year from Belgium and France. The Smeaheia storage license, awarded to Equinor in 2022, is the anchor storage for this pipeline development and Albondigas and Kinno will be additional storage opportunities that can be connected, according to the release.
Equinor is also about to complete the first phase of the Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage facility together with Shell and Total Energies. It will be ready to receive CO2 by the second half of this year, it noted.
“[The] scale up of CO2 transport and storage is essential to meet the interest and demand for this type of services. Gaining access to more CO2 storage capacity aligns well with our ambition of having 30 to 50 million tons of CO2 transport and storage capacity per year by 2035,” Tveit said.
Earlier in the week, Equinor and French gas transmission operator GRTgaz signed a project development agreement (PDA) for the planned CO2 Highway Europe pipeline project.
The project will help decarbonize the Dunkirk industrial area, which accounts for around 20 percent of France’s industrial CO2 emissions. GRTgaz will develop an 18.6-mile (30-kilometer) onshore pipeline network in the Dunkirk region and a compressor station in Dunkirk which will send CO2 into the offshore pipeline connecting to CO2 Highway Europe.
Equinor’s CO2 Highway Europe is a large-scale CO2 pipeline planned by Equinor which also connects Zeebrugge, Belgium to a portfolio of storage sites under the seabed offshore Norway, Equinor stated.

About Parvin Faghfouri Azar

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