The European Union and Norway aim to work together to develop infrastructure to capture and store CO2 emissions and scale up renewable hydrogen production in Europe, according to a draft "alliance" plan.
The plan is set to be announced at a summit of European country leaders and energy ministers in Ostend, Belgium, on Monday, which will focus on making the North Sea an engine of offshore renewable energy and clean industrial technologies.
A draft, seen by Reuters, said the 27-country EU and Norway plan to develop European market rules and infrastructure to capture, transport, use and store CO2 emissions. "Both sides intend to work together to bring this key technology to markets to foster the decarbonisation of hard-to-abate industrial sectors," the draft said. It signalled a similar intent to team up on hydrogen produced from renewable energy - another green technology the EU is betting on to decarbonise heavy industries like steel and cement making.
"Both sides intend to intensify their cooperation to foster renewable hydrogen production in Europe," the document said. Efforts to capture CO2 emissions from industry and store them underground in the North Sea have gathered pace in recent years as countries race to meet climate goals, with Norwegian firms behind some of the main projects. Norway's state-owned Equinor has been capturing and storing CO2 emissions from the Sleipner gas field since the 1990s.
Its upcoming projects include Northern Lights, a joint venture to capture CO2 emissions from industrial facilities and inject up to 1.5 million tonnes per year of CO2 into undersea storage near the Troll gas field from next year.
The draft statement, which could still change before it is adopted, said Norway and the EU would also intensify their cooperation to protect the Arctic. It did not mention planned cooperation between the two sides on fossil fuels.
Norway piped 117 billion cubic metres of gas to the EU and Britain in 2022, making it Europe's largest gas supplier after Russia slashed deliveries last year.
(Reuters - Reporting by Kate Abnett; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)