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Wintershall Dea investigates conversion of North Sea natural gas pipelines for CO2 transport
European independent gas and oil company Wintershall Dea is working with the OTH Regensburg University of Applied Sciences to explore how existing natural gas pipelines in the southern North Sea can be used for future CO2 transport.
There are over 4,800 km of pipelines in the southern North Sea, of which 1,200 km are operated by Wintershall Noordzee, a 50:50 joint venture between Wintershall Dea and Gazprom EP International. Parts of this network could be used for CO2 transport. Wintershall Noordzee also operates numerous depleted reservoirs that are potentially suitable for storing CO2. The Dutch Continental Shelf offers enormous potential, with TNO (The Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research) estimating that around 800mn tonnes of CO2 could be stored there. That’s enough to store the entire annual emissions of all Dutch industry 30 times over, or by comparison, eight years of German industrial emissions, based on 2018 figures, according to International Energy Agency (IEA) data and statistics.
‘We are optimistic about the further investigations. Our calculations already show that existing offshore pipelines could be well suited for transporting liquid CO2,’ says Klaus Langemann, Senior Vice President of Carbon Management and Hydrogen at Wintershall Dea.’Wintershall Dea is investing in CCS because we are convinced that it is a safe and affordable technology for decarbonisation. We have the technological know-how and the depleted offshore reservoirs required for CCS, as well as access to the pipeline network for transport. If existing natural gas pipelines can be used for this purpose, this not only improves the economics of CCS projects, but also contributes to the sustainability of many industrial sectors and their products.’