Carbon Capture Planet Care

65: Storing carbon under the sea


It’s great to capture CO2, but it needs to be stored.


Inject carbon dioxide into spaces under the seabed.

In January 2019, the Norwegian authorities granted the Northern Lights CCS Project, a full-scale pilot CCS, carried out by Equinor (former Statoil), Shell and Total, a permit to exploit an area in the North Sea for CO₂ injections.

The partners aim to capture CO2 at three plants in Southern Norway, liquefy it, and transport it over 430 mi (700 km) by ship to a hub near Kollsnes. From there, the CO₂ will be sent offshore via a pipeline for injection into a depleted well in the Johansen formation, about 20 miv(30 km) offshore from mainland Norway.

The three plants selected for CO2 capture are Yara’s Ammonia plant in Porsgrunn, Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik, and the Fortum recycling plant in Oslo.

After completing feasibility studies for CO₂ capture in 2018, the plants are presently compiling FEED studies for the final investment decision, to be taken by the Norwegian Parliament in 2020/21.

The Northern Lights CCS Project is supported by CLIMIT, Norway’s national research programme for accelerating the commercialisation of CCS. CLIMIT aims to reach an annual CO2 capture capacity of 1.4 million tons (1.3 million tonnes) by 2022.

In May 2020 Equinor, Shell and Total made an initial investment of $680m (NOK 6.9bn) between them into the Northern Lights (CCS) project. The project will capture industrial and imported carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions to be injected into reserves from a terminal in Øygarden, on Norway’s west coast. (

Tip Meckel at the Bureau of Economic Geology, The University of Texas at Austin and Philip Ringrose, an adjunct professor at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and geoscientist at the Equinor Research Centre in Trondheim, have calculated that the geological injection of CO₂ into 10,000 to 14,000 injection wells worldwide in the next 30 years, would meet the IPCC’s goal of using CCS to provide 13 % of worldwide emissions cuts (6 to 7 gigatons of CO₂) so achieving emissions cuts under the 2°C scenario by 2050. (

In September 2020, the Norwegian Government proposed to launch a $2.7 billion CCS project, named ‘Longship’, in Norwegian ‘Langskip’.

Apart from funding Northern Lights, the Government will implement carbon capture at Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik as well as funding Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste incineration facility in Oslo, providing that the project secures sufficient own funding as well as funding from the EU or other sources.

Another first-time licence, allowing offshore exploration to select a site for storing CO₂ underground, was granted in December 2018 by the UK Oil and Gas Authority (OGA),. The holder of the licence is the Acorn CCS project, led by Pale Blue Dot Energy and centred on the St Fergus Gas Plant in northeast Scotland.

The project aims to capture 220,000 tons (0.2 million tonnes) of CO₂ from flue gases annually, for storage in depleted gas fields, beneath the North Sea. Instead of creating new infrastructure, existing offshore gas pipelines will be repurposed to transport CO₂ in the opposite direction.

In January 2019, the project estimated the available offshore storage capacity at 700 million tons (650 million tonnes) of CO₂ and suggested that the neighbouring port at Peterhead could be used to import 16 million tonnes of CO₂ for storage per year by ship, from the UK and Europe.

Before starting CO₂ injections, the Acorn project needs to apply for a storage permit from OGA, as soon a storage site has been selected.

In December 2018, the British government announced financial support for the project (£0.17 million). Earlier British CCS projects such as the Scottish Peterhead Project did not obtain public funds, after completion of the FEED studies.

At the end of April 2019, a research vessel left the Scottish coast to reach the Goldeneye Gas Platform, an abandoned offshore platform in the North Sea, about 60 mi (100 km) northeast of Peterhead.

A central part of the STEMM-CCS (Strategies for Environmental Monitoring of Marine Carbon Capture & Storage) project is a sub-seabed CO₂ release experiment. 3.3 tons (3 tonnes) of CO₂, augmented with inert chemical tracers, will be injected below the seafloor at the Goldeneye experimental site.

The experiment aims to test CO₂ leak detection and leak quantification with help of chemical sensors. The project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

This initiative is supported by an analysis made by a team of scientists led by Jonathan Scafidi and a team of scientists at the School of GeoSciences, University of Edinburgh of the Beatrice oilfield, 15 mi. (24 km) off the north-east coast of Scotland. Using a computer model, the team calculated that over a 30-year period, the scheme would be around 10 times cheaper than decommissioning the Beatrice oil field, which is such likely to cost more than US$ 340 million.

Discover Solution 66: using carbon dioxide to make craft beer

Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.

Leave a comment

Translate »