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Norway Is Opening for Business in Carbon Capture

Norway could be getting into the business of importing and sequestering CO2 as a service, thanks to a new undersea project for carbon capture and storage.

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy has announced that it will be moving forward with an undersea project for carbon capture and storage (CSS), the first in the world to be able to store carbon dioxide (CO2) waste from multiple industrial sources. If the project is successful, it will serve as a stepping stone for full scale international operations.

The impetus behind this is to get ahead of the carbon capture curve and create an economically viable value chain solution for CCS. When this infrastructure is put into place, Norway will be able to import CO2 for permanent storage, providing a ready mechanism for countries and companies to set up their own CCS operations. It will also lower the threshold for a European hydrogen market. Norway could be getting into the business of importing and sequestering CO2 as a service.

The country is already the world leader in carbon storage, going back to the Sleipner Project, which has stored one million tons of CO2 per year since it began about 20 years ago. It was the first facility dedicated to CO2 storage and was installed as a means of avoiding the Norwegian carbon tax and reducing the CO2 content of natural gas produced in the area, which exceeded the specified European Union limit in CO2 concentration of 2.5%.

The CO2 was removed using an amine-based sorbent, with the excess being pumped under the seabed to a depth of roughly 1 km. Of the 17 large-scale CCS facilities operating worldwide today, only four are dedicated to carbon storage. Two are in Norway (Sleipner and Snøhvit), one in Canada (Quest), and one in the US (Decatur). The rest are being used for enhanced oil recovery.

The importance of CCS technology is hard to overstate, at least for as long as fossil fuels are part of the energy and industrial l