Oil majors aim to commercialize carbon storage, starting offshore Norway

Troll B platform. Image: Øyvind Hagen/Statoil

Statoil, Shell and Total have launched a CO2 storage partnership tasked with maturing the development of carbon storage initially on the Norwegian continental shelf, with the ambition to stimulate new commercial carbon capture projects in Norway, Europe and more globally across the world.

While ramp up and widespread use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) is considered essential to meeting the commitments of the Paris accord to keep global warming below a two degrees rise from pre-industrial levels, its development has lagged as high costs remain an obstacle.

The new partnership is part of the Norwegian authorities’ efforts to develop full-scale CCS in Norway. In June Gassnova, a Norwegian state enterprise that promotes CCS research and development, awarded Statoil the contract for the first phase of the project.

Norske Shell and Total E&P Norge are now entering as equal partners while Statoil will lead the project. All the partners will contribute people, experience and financial support.

The first phase could reach a capacity of approximately 1.5 million tonnes per year. The project will be designed to accommodate additional CO2 volumes and has the potential to be the first storage project site in the world receiving CO2 from industrial sources in several countries, the companies said in a joint statement.

By comparison, Shell’s Quest CCS project in Alberta sequestered more than a million tonnes of CO2 in its first full year of operations last year. Shell has said its learnings from that project could reduce capital and operating costs 30 per cent on any subsequent such project.

The Norwegian project will store CO2 captured from onshore industrial facilities in eastern Norway. Carbon dioxide will be transported by ship from the capture facilities to a receiving terminal located onshore on the west coast of Norway. At the receiving terminal CO2 will be transferred from the ship to intermediate storage tanks, prior to being sent through a pipeline on the seabed to injection wells east of the offshore Troll field.

The objective for the project is to stimulate necessary development of CCS so the long-term climate targets in Norway and the EU can be reached. The collaboration will form basis for establishing a further partnership for the construction and operational phases, said the companies.

“Statoil believes that without carbon capture and storage, it is not realistic to meet the global climate target as defined in the Paris Agreement,” noted Irene Rummelhoff, Statoil’s executive vice-president for New Energy Solutions. “A massive scale up of number of CCS projects are needed and collaboration and sharing of knowledge are essential to accelerating the development.”

The three companies said they share a common vision of a carbon storage infrastructure. “Shell sees CCS as a transformative technology that can significantly reduce emissions from those industrial sectors that will continue to rely on hydrocarbons for decades to come. Shell has significant experience of working with governments and other experts to support the development and wide-scale deployment of CCS and are pleased to be joining forces with our joint venture partners,” said Monika Hausenblas, Shell’s executive vice-president for Environment and Safety.

“Total is integrating the climate challenge into its strategy. Total’s involvement in this first commercial-scale storage project is thus fully aligned with our low carbon roadmap and our strategy to ultimately become a global CCUS leader,” added Philippe Sauquet, president, Gas, Renewables & Power and president, Strategy-Innovation at Total.

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