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Equinor Wins Permit for Subsea Carbon Storage Project

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Illustration of the Northern Lights CCS project (Equinor)

By The Maritime Executive 2019-01-11 17:51:16

The government of Norway has awarded state-owned oil firm Equinor a permit for its "Northern Lights" CO2 storage project on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

The permit is the first of its kind on the NCS, and it aligns with a government goal to develop and export new technologies for carbon capture and storage (CCS). The offshore storage site would receive CO2 captured from three large industrial plants on shore, with tankers carrying the carbon from the point of origin in Oslo to the project location.

The project area was first announced last July, and Equinor is currently performing FEED studies on storage with its partners, Shell and Total. The FEED studies, which will be furthered by the permit, will provide more accurate cost estimates to support an investment decision. 

Equinor's storage method is a proven process: the company has been injecting recovered CO2 back into the ground for decades. In current operations at the Sleipner platform, Equinor extracts carbon dioxide out of a CO2-rich natural gas stream, then reinjects it into a sandstone formation. This carbon capture and storage method reduces Equinor's exposure to Norway's steep CO2 tax. 

On the same day as the carbon capture permit was awarded, Equinor completed the purchase of Chevron's 40 percent operating stake in the Rosebank oil project on the UK Continental Shelf. The acquisition adds to its large portfolio of oil and gas E&P holdings on the UKCS, which help make it the largest supplier of crude oil and natural gas in the United Kingdom.