In partnership with Equinor and Shell, TotalEnergies is developing a project in Norway to transport and store CO2 in underground geological formations located off the Norwegian coast.
The aim of the project is to transport and permanently store the CO2 emitted by two industrial sites in Norway, and by any other European emitter who subscribes to the transport and storage service offered by the project.
In 2017, Equinor, Norske Shell and Total E&P Norge signed a collaboration agreement, as equal partners, to review the shipping and storage project supported by Gassnova, the CCS arm of the Norwegian government.
The Northern Lights Project
On May 15, 2020, TotalEnergies, in collaboration with Equinor and Shell, made a landmark investment decision to develop Northern Lights, Norway’s first commercial offshore CO2 shipping and storage project. This decision was made possible because of the strong support (subsidies) for the project from the Norwegian government.
This project is part of the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) industrial chain supported by the Norwegian government (the “Longship” project). It involves the capture of CO2 from two industrial sources: the first being the Norcem site in Brevik of cement manufacturer, Heidelberg Group (Norcem), and the second the Fortum Oslo Varme waste processing plant in Oslo.
In phase one, the Northern Lights project aims to pioneer and accelerate the decarbonization of European industry, by providing available storage capacity of up to 0.7 MtCO2/year for emitters, in addition to the capacity already reserved by the Norwegian government (0.8 MtCO2/year for Norcem and Fortum).
The funding from the Norwegian government was approved by the European authorities on July 17, 2020 and ratified by the Norwegian Parliament on December 14, 2020. The establishment of the joint venture that will operate and own the Northern Lights project was approved by various national competition authorities in mid-January 2021.
The project is expected to be operational by 2024.
In the carbon management cycle, CCS is deployed following the reduction of emissions through various actions, such as energy efficiency initiatives or the improvement of the energy mix of industrial companies: the switch from coal to natural gas (which can reduce GHG emissions by half), and the development of low carbon electricity, etc.
CCS is the process of capturing residual CO2 emissions in flue gas, separating them from the other components (nitrogen, water, etc.) and liquefying the CO2 to ensure optimal transport to the storage site by pipeline, ship, or other logistical means. The CO2 is then injected into underground porous rock where it can be stored permanently.
This project represents a major step forward in the decarbonization of European industry and will enable the development of large-scale, low-carbon hydrogen production. It also opens up possibilities for integrating CO2 recycling (CCU).
The technology also helps ensure negative emissions when CO2 is captured directly from the atmosphere (DAC = Direct Air Capture) or when it is derived from biomass or waste (BECCS).
Technical description of the project (phase 1)
- Phase 1 concerns the development of maritime transport and the permanent storage of CO2. This first phase will provide the capacity to store up to 1.5 MtCO2/year by 2024, by which time the project is expected to be operational.
- Once the CO2 from the industrial emitters has been captured, it will be transported by ship in liquid form to the offloading terminal on the west coast of Norway. It will then be pumped from the temporary storage tanks into a subsea pipeline of approximately 100 km long and injected via a well into the underground geological formation where it will be permanently stored at about 2,500 meters below the seabed in the North Sea.
- The facility is expected to be operational by 2024.
- The CO2 receiving terminal will be located in the Naturgassparken industrial area in Øygarden, in west Norway.
- The site will be operated remotely from the Sture Terminal in Øygarden and from the Oseberg A offshore platform.
Storage and location
- The “Aurora” EL001 operating permit was issued in January 2019.
- The storage facility is located at a depth of 2,500 meters below the seabed, south of the Troll gas field.
In March 2020, the Eos appraisal well was drilled, confirming the characteristics of the storage site. It will be used for CO2 injection and storage.
Direct emissions generated by the company's activity.
Indirect emissions associated with the company's electricity and heat consumption.
Emissions induced (upstream or downstream) by the company's activities, products and/or services in its value chain.
Carbon sinks creation, (BECCS, CCU/S, …)
Emissions avoided by the activities, products and/or services in charge of the project, or by the financing of emission reduction projects.
Scope 1 - Operations of the CCS projet
- Quantification : 50 ktCO2/year
Emission Removal - Permanent storage of CO2 in deep underground reservoirs located offshore
Quantification : 1.5 MtCO2/year
Including 27% of biogenic CO2 (Fortum waste incinerator): negative emissions
Carbon impact of the project
In phase one, the project will develop the capacity to store up to 1.5 MtCO2/year:
- 8 MtCO2/year will be reserved by the Norwegian authorities.
- 7 MtCO2/year can be sold to third-party clients.
In phase two, the project has the potential to reach 5 MtCO2/year of storage capacity.
However, the project also leads to the generation of CO2 emissions when the gas is transported and temporarily stored (before permanent storage in offshore reservoirs): 0.03 tCO2 per tCO2 stored of total direct emissions (on-site construction for onshore + offshore + rig + emissions throughout the operation period) plus indirect emissions (CO2 content of construction materials for ships, and onshore and offshores sites). This represents emissions of 50 kt tCO2/year for 1.5 MtCO2eq/year stored.
Impact on the two capture sites
The two capture sites (Fortum and Norcem) will each reduce their direct emissions by 0.4 MtCO2/year.
TotalEnergies is committed to working towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to ensure a brighter and more sustainable future for all. For this reason, the Company is constructing a sustainable development approach based on four pillars: integrating climate change into its business strategy, protecting the environment, respecting and mobilizing employees and suppliers, and contributing to the economic development of the regions where it operates.
To this end, the Northern Lights project, because of its co-benefits, will help to achieve three of the SDGs and to meet specific targets:
- SDG 7 – Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all
- The project ensures the generation of reliable, sustainable, and modern energy by transporting and storing the emissions from power plants.
- SDG 9 – Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- The project’s CO2 transport and storage service provides a solution for the CO2 captured by industrial companies and will therefore enable the development of a sustainable, low-carbon industry in Europe.
- SDG 13 – Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
- The aim of the project is to develop geological storage capacity, which is essential for fighting climate change.
The Northern Lights solution can be replicated for all emitters (waste-to-energy, hydrogen, cement and steel producers and other CO2 emitters) as well as for all communities who would like to be involved in the decarbonization effort.
To date, 15 projects are being examined in Europe. No such project is currently being envisaged in France.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has described CCS technology as essential in order to achieve a worldwide “net-zero” carbon balance by the second half of the 21st century.
Today, approximately 40 Mt ofCO2/year are stored underground. In its 2020 “Sustainable Development” scenario, the International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that these volumes must be increased to 900 Mt ofCO2/year by 2030 and 5.4 Gt of CO2/year by 2050 in order to meet the Paris Agreement objectives. The European bodies agree with this growth requirement, and the Commission recommends developing CCUS capacities by 80 and 300 Mt of CO2/year.
In France, the National Low-Carbon Strategy (SNBC) has set a target of achieving Net Zero by 2050. Its reference scenario, “With Additional Measures” (Avec Mesures Supplémentaires – AMS) forecasts 15 Mt of CO2/year of CCS (5 Mt of CO2/year in the industry and 10 Mt ofCO2/year in bioenergy). The ADEME has selected three industrial centers of interest for CCS deployment (Dunkirk, Le Havre-Rouen, and Lacq), with a combined potential capacity of 24 Mt of CO2/year.
Conditions for the project’s success:
In the project’s later stages of development, it will be possible to increase capacity at the site according to market demand from major CO2 emitters across Europe.
The main conditions for the success of the project and of the CCS industry as a whole, are as follows:
- The Net Zero ambitions of governments, companies, and communities.
- Transposing these ambitions into quantified targets and implementation plans.
And by creating value for CO2 through:
- Recognition of the added value of low-carbon products (cement, steel, chemicals, etc.).
- Decarbonization incentives based on regulations as well as carbon taxation.
TotalEnergies is working in partnership with Equinor and Shell on this project.
The Norwegian government is supporting the project through subsidies in return for reserving 0.8 MtCO2/year of storage capacity over the first 10 years of operation.
A non-binding Memorandum of Understanding has already been signed with nine European companies for the development of CO2 capture and storage value chains. The signatory companies include Air Liquide, Arcelor Mittal, Ervia, Fortum, Preem, HeidelbergCement, and Stockholm Exergi.
The establishment of binding commercial agreements will depend, among other things, on a favorable decision by the Norwegian authorities, the decision to develop CO2 capture facilities by third-party clients and the conclusion of bilateral agreements between Norway and third-party countries, where these clients are based, for CO2 transport and storage. This cross-sectoral collaboration provides a unique solution to managing large volumes of CO2 and preventing their release to the atmosphere. These new value chains and the infrastructure for CCS projects can only be developed through cooperation between governments and the private sector.
Economic viability not disclosed
Northern Lights marks the first step towards developing a value chain based on carbon management and decarbonization services. It paves the way for new forms of international logistics.
TotalEnergies has drawn on its expertise in carbon capture, transport, underground storage, and complex chain management to develop this new decarbonization tool. TotalEnergies is thus offering a solution which meets the scale of the decarbonization challenge by taking the first steps towards commercializing this emerging industry.
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