The road is open for full-scale carbon capture and storage in Norway : CCS UNDERGROUND
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A discussion of the issues and policies related to carbon capture and storage technology.*

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The road is open for full-scale carbon capture and storage in Norway


This is a cross-post published by ZERO July5. The author is Camilla Svendsen-Skriung with ZERO.

Early July Gassnova and Gassco published the conclusions of their study of Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) from three Norwegian industry sources, and the conclusions are very encouraging. To clean these emissions is not only possible - it is also much cheaper than previous Norwegian CCS projects.

Three industrial projects have been evaluated, and ZERO are very pleased that all of the three current capture projects are recommended to be further developed in a front end engineering design phase (FEED), with the goal of investment decision and construction. Together, these three projects cut emissions of 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 per year, as much as a million cars.

All of these projects have great potential, not only to reduce Norwegian emissions, but also to develop technological solutions and gain practical experience from various industry sources who have never been capturing CO2 in a large scale. This type of industry has most often no other options for mitigating their CO2 emissions, than just CCS. ZERO thinks it is good that Gassnova increases the importance of choosing several capture projects, to ensure a flexible and less vulnerable solution.

For the entire chain from capture by industry sources in eastern Norway, transporting CO2 by ship to the storage site in the North Sea and to final storage, the study estimates the cost to be 7.2 billion for one of the projects, and 12.6 million to clean and store emissions from all three. In comparison, capture alone, without transport and storage, was estimated to cost around 25 billion at Mongstad.

- This shows that the cost figures that Statoil and other companies have operated with earlier, and which have been the premise for the Norwegian CCS debate, are greatly exaggerated. Once the infrastructure is in place, and the capture technology is further matured through use, CCS will be a cost-effective way of preventing CO2 emissions.

Important political fall for CCS
Although the feasibility study finally puts forward a concrete plan for large-scale CCS in Norway, nothing remains unchanged until the financing is in place. It now becomes very important that sufficient budgetary decisions must be made already this fall. Now the bar is set high for what the government must submit to the state budget.

- We are of course initially disappointed that CCS is not scheduled until 2022 instead of in 2020 as a united parliament agreed on, but it is now important to focus on the realisation of Norwegian CCS, and to push for faster deployment.

- It is worrying that the outcome is so dependent on political process, and that the investment decision now is pushed until 2019. Not the least does the possibility for changes in parliamentary composition and change of government in the meantime, concern the industrial companies. This make the future of CCS uncertain for them.

- If we do not in place the right decisions this fall, we will hold up this process again, and once more, designers must wait for the politicians. We believe the government must set aside money for the project already in the autumn's budget. In addition, one must now put in place measures for profitable CCS.

There are also no signals from the minister of Petroleum and Energy Tord Lien whether all three projects should be farther in the process, or if there is only one project which goes to investment decisions and development. The report from Gassnova and Gassco recommends that all three are farther in all the conceptual and preliminary engineering phases.

- We hope that the Minister as soon as possible provides a clarification that all projects are further developed, at least until this phase is completed in 2019. This is not the least important for the industry participants themselves.

Good that storage is included
ZERO is very pleased that Smeheia is chosen as storage reservoir, and that the Statoil group now will develop this project ptentially to store CO2 from both Norwegian and European sources. Gassco's assessment of marine transport to onshore facilities and further pipeline, are build on these plans, and thus we have a concrete plan for the entire chain of CCS - on paper.

- The challenge now is the realization of this. No one, neither the environmental movement or others stakeholders may be satisfied until the day CO2 from these major sources actually are stored in Smeheia. The different parts of the chain: capturing, transportation and storage of CO2, must now be developed in parallel. The same must the work to establish effective economic measures.

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