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Cross-Border CO2 Transport and Storage Proposed for Dutch North Sea

CCS for Dutch North Sea
RWE looks to develop an energy hub in Eemshaven using CO2 storage for its biomass power plant (RWE)

Published Feb 22, 2023 7:29 PM by The Maritime Executive

Norwegian energy company CapeOmega released plans for cross-border CO2 transport and storage operation that would be developed with Neptune Energy for storage of carbon capture and storage in the Dutch and Norwegian portions of the North Sea. The project would follow similar efforts also underway in Norway and Denmark targeting the depleted oil wells and deep undersea caverns for the permanent storage of CO2.

Called NoordKapp the concept is for a cross-border CO2 storage solution for industrial emitters across Europe. NoordKaap would involve transporting CO2 aboard vessels suitable for directly injecting the CO2 at offshore locations and for terminal offloading. NoordKaap will examine the potential for a network-based approach to Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS) via marine transport, and according to the companies could make a crucial contribution to Dutch, Norwegian, and European climate and energy goals.

“NoordKaap comprises an integrated partnership of all stakeholders in the value chain, from emitters to storage facility owners, to ensure close coordination of these proposals as part of the development of a successful decarbonization strategy,” said Evy Glørstad, CEO of CapeOmega. “CapeOmega aims to support the value chain with the infrastructure needed to safely and successfully transport and store CO2. NoordKaap would enable us to use our position and experience in pipeline, terminal, shipping, and offshore license ownership to support CCS and decarbonization.”

The concept aims to offer CCS solutions to industrial clusters where ship transport is the primary or earliest available export option. The project will also examine opportunities for industrial clusters in Germany, Belgium, Scandinavia, and northern France. It would provide access to CO2 subsurface storage sites offshore the Netherlands and Norway. 

NoordKaap is planned to be operational in 2028. CapeOmega in coordination with Wintershall Dea Norge was awarded in 2022 an exploration permit for CO2 storage in the Norwegian part of the North Sea. It was the first for the company and the third awarded by Norway.

German energy company RWE, signed a letter of intent with CapeOmega and Neptune Energy to assess the possibility of using the project to ship CO2 from their biomass Eemshaven energy facility. The company is looking to develop offshore storage in the Dutch North Sea for the emissions as they also explore building out Eemshaven as a clean energy and hydrogen hub for Northern Europe. The Eemshaven biomass power plant has been in operation since 2015 and last year RWE agreed to acquire a neighboring gas-fired 1.4-gigawatt power plant from Vattenfall. That plant which has been in service for a decade, RWE said is prepared for potential conversion to hydrogen. 

As part of the plan for an energy cluster in Eemshaven, RWE said the gas-fired plant could be made technically suitable to co-fire hydrogen by up to 30 percent. Moreover, there may also be the possibility of converting the Magnum plant to rely on hydrogen as its sole fuel by the end of the decade.

“We are currently assessing the possibility to ship and store green CO2 from our biomass Eemshaven plant to offshore storage in the Dutch North Sea, resulting in negative emissions,” said Roger Miesen, CEO of RWE Generation. “That is why the NoordKaap project is such an interesting opportunity for us.”

NoordKaap is supported by partners Groningen Seaport, KNCC, Vopak and Return Carbon. The plan has been submitted to the EU and it is seeking a designation as a Project of Mutual interest that would provide access to accelerated permitting and funding under the Connecting Europe Facility.