Norway Offers New Exploration Licenses for CO2 Storage in North Sea

Illustration: Finnestad.(via NPD)
Illustration: Finnestad.(via NPD)

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy on Friday offered two new exploration licenses related to CO2 storage on the Norwegian continental shelf in the North Sea.

The two exploration licenses offered are located in the southern part of the North Sea. The eastern license is offered to a group consisting of Aker BP ASA and OMV (Norge) AS. The north-west license is offered to a group consisting of Wintershall Dea Norge AS and Altera Infrastructure Group through its subsidiary Stella Maris CCS AS.

According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the authorities reviewed applications from six companies following the announcement of suitable acreage in November 2022.

This is the fourth time acreage is being awarded for CO2 storage under the Norwegian CO2 Storage Regulations. These are the fifth and sixth acreages awarded for CO2 storage on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The Norwegian Minister of Petroleum and Energy Terje Aasland said: "The award is made to two application groups that have matured good plans for the storage of CO2. These projects will help build up a new, commercial Norwegian marine industry."

The licenses are offered with a binding work program with installed mileposts that ensure fast and efficient progress or the return of the areas if the licenses do not carry out the storage project, the Ministry said.

The work program will normally end with a demand that the companies make an investment decision on the realization of CO2 storage and that they then submit a plan for development and operation (PUD) for the storage location or relinquish of the area.


Poseidon

The license awarded to Aker BP and OMV will be named Poseidon. Aker BP (60%) and OMV (Norge) AS (40%) have interest in the license, which will be operated by Aker BP. The license comes with a work program that includes a 3D seismic acquisition and a drill or drop decision by 2025.

 "We expect CCS to play a key role in the transition to a low-carbon energy future, and the NCS holds significant potential for carbon storage. As a leading operator on the NCS, Aker BP is well-positioned to take an active role in this area. This license award allows us to explore both the technical and commercial potential of carbon storage. We look forward to collaborating with our partners to develop this into a sustainable and profitable business", says Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO in Aker BP.

The Poseidon license could potentially provide storage of more than 5 million tons CO2 per year. The intention is to inject CO2 captured from multiple identified industrial emitters in North-West Europe, including from Borealis' various industrial sites in Europe.

Aker BP and OMV (Norge) AS have entered into a collaboration agreement with Höegh LNG to provide the marine CO2 infrastructure required to collect, aggregate, and transport the CO2 from emitters on the European continent to the NCS. 

Aker BP said it was evaluating CO2 storage opportunities on the NCS as a potential new business opportunity and a potential decarbonization lever for Aker BP in the longer term.

"The award of the Poseidon license represents the first milestone to assess and mature CO2 storage resources, in support of the deployment of CCS within North-West Europe. Aker BP has in-depth expertise in reservoir management, drilling and wells and logistics offshore Norway," Aker BP said.

 Havstjerne

Wintershall Dea and its partner Altera have been awarded the Havstjerne CO2 storage license. The license is located 135 kilometres southwest of Stavanger and will be operated by Wintershall Dea, holding 50 per cent of the shares. The estimated annual storage capacity amounts to up to seven million tonnes.

"This second license award in Norway supports our ambitious target to build a global carbon management portfolio that potentially can abate 20 to 30 million tonnes of CO2 per year by 2040. We are proud of the trust that the Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy places in our expertise and our ability to contribute to reaching Europe’s climate goals”, said Hugo Dijkgraaf, member of Wintershall Dea’s Board of Executive Directors as well as its Chief Technology Officer. “We are working intensively on delivering the infrastructure Norway needs to become a hub for European carbon storage”, he added.

According to Wintershall Dea, Norway has the largest underground storage potential in Europe and can play a key role in efforts to achieve climate targets when efficiently linked to continental European emitters. 

“Wintershall Dea has the industrial will to move CCS forward, building on the competency we have accumulated after five decades on the Norwegian Continental Shelf”, said Michael Zechner, managing director in Wintershall Dea in Norway.

Wintershall Dea and Altera intend to develop a system for transporting CO2 by ship to the Havstjerne license and offer a flexible and scalable solution, offering storage to emitters from around Europe. The partnership has already investigated clusters of emitters in the Baltics, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain for sourcing CO2 for storage.

“CCS as a decarbonisation strategy is expected to expand and grow significantly in Europe the coming years, so this is only the beginning. The world needs CCS on a massive scale, and we are proud to be part of the solution.  Together with our strong partner Wintershall Dea, we are ready to do our part in leading the industry towards a sustainable future”, said Ingvild Sæther, CEO of Altera Infrastructure Group Ltd.

In addition to the awarded Havstjerne license, Wintershall Dea operates the Luna license in the Norwegian North Sea for future storage of CO2 and is working with Equinor in the NOR-GE project on a 900-kilometre-long CO2 pipeline. 

In March 2023, Wintershall Dea initiated the first COstorage in the Danish North Sea as part of Project Greensand,






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