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Norwegian government launches ‘Longship’ carbon capture and storage

In a Government White Paper to the Norwegian parliament submitted on September 21, 2020, the government proposes to launch the ‘Longship’ ('Langskip') carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Norway. "Longship is a milestone in the Government’s industry and climate efforts. The project will lead to emission cuts and facilitate the development of new technology and thus new jobs", said Prime Minister Erna Solberg.

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In a Government White Paper to the Norwegian parliament submitted on September 21, 2020, the government proposes to launch the ‘Longship’ (‘Langskip’) carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Norway (graphic courtesy Gassnova).

The Norwegian government proposes to first implement carbon capture at Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik. In addition, it also intends to fund Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste-to-energy (WtE) facility in Oslo, providing that the project secures sufficient own funding as well as third-party funding from the EU or other sources.

For Longship to be a successful climate project for the future, other countries also have to start using this technology. This is one of the reasons why our funding is conditional on others contributing financially as well, explained PM Solberg.

Longship also comprises funding for the carbon dioxide (CO2) transport and storage project Northern Lights, a joint project between oil and gas majors Equinor, Shell, and Total.

Northern Lights will transport liquid CO2 from capture facilities to a terminal at Øygarden in Vestland County. From there, CO2 will be pumped through pipelines to a reservoir beneath the sea bottom.

Building on previous support

Over the years, various Norwegian governments have supported technology development, test and pilot projects, and underscored the importance of carbon capture and storage as an important climate tool internationally. The current government has followed up this work and made targeted efforts on CCS since 2013.

Building bit by bit in collaboration with the industry has been important to us in order to be confident that the project is feasible. This approach has worked well, and we now have a decision basis. Longship involves building new infrastructure, and we are preparing the ground for connecting other carbon capture facilities to a carbon storage facility in Norway. This approach is a climate policy that works. Longship is the greatest climate project in the Norwegian industry ever. We will cut emissions, not progress, said Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru.

CCS a needed and necessary climate measure

According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), CCS will be necessary to reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in line with the climate targets at the lowest possible cost.

However, on a global basis, there are few facilities in operation and more projects that bring learning and technological development are needed. In turn, they will help reduce costs. If CCS is to become an efficient climate policy instrument, new facilities must be established in Europe and globally.

Norway has committed itself to cut domestic emissions by 50-55 percent by 2030.

For the world to achieve the goals that we have committed ourselves to in the Paris Agreement, we need large-scale carbon capture and storage. Not all emissions can be cut by applying renewable energy. In several industrial processes, such as cement production, CCS is the only technology that can cut emissions. With Longship, Norway will support the development of climate solutions for the future, said Minister of Climate and Environment, said Sveinung Rotevatn.

Norway well-positioned for CCS

Norway is in a good position to contribute to the development of CCS. The country has a strong technological community in the field of carbon capture, transport, and storage. For decades, the development and operation of the CO2 storage projects on the Sleipner and Snøhvit fields have demonstrated safe carbon storage on the Norwegian continental shelf.

Effective climate policies must be positive industrial policies. Through Longship, the government will strengthen the Norwegian industry by enabling enterprises to meet the climate requirements of the future. The project is an important contribution to green growth and will secure and create new jobs in the industry, noted Minister of Children and Families, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad.

Longship facilitates the further development of CCS both in Norway and Europe. The project has been matured to a level required for an investment decision, and the decision basis shows that all parts of the project are feasible.

NOK 25 billion investment

The project also involves risks. For Longship to have the desired effect, an ambitious development of climate policies in Europe is needed. The risks are primarily connected to the economy of the project, such as the technical integration of the different parts of the project, the scope of the following projects, and necessary support schemes for such projects from the EU and individual countries.

What is not at risk the government says, is the safety and integrity of the storage solution for CO2.

The total investments in Longship are estimated at NOK 17.1 billion (≈ EUR 1.56 billion). This includes both Norcem, Fortum Oslo Varme as well as Northern Lights. The operating costs for ten years of operation are estimated at NOK 8 billion (≈ EUR 730.9 million).

The total cost estimate is thus NOK 25.1 billion (≈ EUR 2.29 billion). Longship will receive state aid in accordance with negotiated agreements. The state’s part of these costs is estimated at NOK 16.8 billion (≈ EUR 1.53 billion).

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