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Green light for Northern Lights investment
Equinor, Shell and Total have decided to invest in the Northern Lights project in Norway's first exploitation licence for CO₂ storage on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. Plans for development and operation have been handed over to the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.
The investment decision is subject to final investment decision (FID) by Norwegian authorities and approval from the EFTA Surveillance Authority (ESA).
‘The Northern Lights project could become the first step to develop a value chain for carbon capture and storage (CCS), which is vital to reach the global climate goals of the Paris Agreement. Development of CCS projects will also represent new activities and industrial opportunities for Norwegian and European industries… and support goals to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050,’ says Anders Opedal, Executive Vice President for Technology, Projects & Drilling at Equinor.
The investment decision concludes the study phase during which Equinor, Shell and Total worked closely with Norwegian authorities to conduct engineering studies and project planning, and drill a confirmation well. The partners now intend to establish a joint venture company.
Northern Lights will be the first commercial-scale carbon transportation and storage project in Europe. It will be developed in phases. Phase 1 includes capacity to transport, inject and store up to 1.5mn t/y of CO2. Investment in subsequent phases will be triggered by market demand from large CO2 emitters across Europe.
Equinor, on behalf of the partners, has already signed non-binding memoranda of understanding with several European companies for the development of value chains in carbon capture and storage.
If the project receives a positive FID from the Norwegian government in 2020, Phase 1 is expected to be operational in 2024.