K Line to Operate Northern Lights’ CO2 Carriers Under Charter

K Line to operate Norwegian CO2 carriers
K Line will operate the two CO2 carriers being built in China for the Norwegian project (Northern Lights)

Published Dec 19, 2022 4:22 PM by The Maritime Executive

Japan’s K Line (Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha) which operates a diverse fleet of ships is becoming the latest company to join for the support of Norway’s Northern Lights, a pioneering project designed to transport CO2 offshore for storage below the ocean floor. The companies have signed Bare Boat Charter and Time Charter contracts for the two CO2 carriers ordered by Northern Lights and currently under construction in China.

“K LINE has deep experience in liquefied gas transport and a strong safety and environmental track record,” said Børre Jacobsen, Managing Director of Northern Lights. “We are pleased to partner with K LINE in operationalizing this innovative value chain.”

Construction began in late November with the first steel cut for the vessels which are being billed as the world’s largest CO2 transport ships. They are being built by Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. in China and each will have a 7,500 cbm capacity. The ships will be 426 feet long and fueled by LNG as well as each having a wind rotor and air lubrication on their hulls to reduce fuel consumption. They are scheduled to be delivered in 2024.

“We are honored to participate in the Northern Lights project and contribute to the decarbonization of industry,” said Yukikazu Myochin, President and CEO of “K” LINE. “We have been able to develop a new field by making use of our decades of know-how in liquefied gas transport.”

The London-based subsidiary “K” LINE LNG Shipping (UK) will undertake the management of two ships. The ships are classified by DNV and will be registered in Norway and operated under the Norwegian flag by mainly Norwegian shipboard personnel. While other companies are also exploring the operation of ships to transport CO2 as part of capture and storage operations, Northern Lights was the first to place a construction order. After an extensive bidding process, the shipbuilding contract was awarded to Dalian Shipbuilding Industry Co. in October 2021.

Once operational, the ships will transport liquefied CO2 from industrial emitters to the Northern Lights receiving facilities in Øygarden, Norway. From there, the CO2 will be transported in a pipeline to a reservoir for permanent and safe storage at depth of more than 1.6 miles under the seabed. 

Northern Lights drilled the first CO2 exploration well that confirmed the reservoir in the Johansen formation in 2020 and recently announced that it completed drilling its first injection well. When Northern Lights starts operations in 2024, it expects to be the first-ever cross-border, open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure network. Northern Lights is a joint venture owned equally by Equinor, Shell, and TotalEnergies.