The Norwegian government has dropped plans for a full-scale carbon capture plant at the Mongstad refinery after cost overruns and delays, ending a project that was dubbed the country’s "moon landing" by prime minister Jens Stoltenberg.
Although the full-scale project will be halted, the government is to increase spending on a carbon capture test centre at TCM, the world’s largest and most advanced carbon capture testing centre, 400 million kroner ($68 million) and will seek to build a full-scale plant in another location.
Frank Ellingsen, the MD of TCM, said: "We are pleased to see the renewed commitment from Norway to CCS. Climate risk is now firmly on the agenda of energy investors. With shareholder and compliance pressure pushing energy companies to decarbonise, CCS will reach an inevitable tipping point. TCM plays a vital role in reducing the technical, environmental and financial risk of CCS to accelerate that moment."
Bård Vegar Solhjell, Norwegian minister of Petroleum said: "The government will intensify its efforts in technology development. Our commitment and high ambitions for Carbon Capture and Storage remains as strong as ever."
To date, major technology brands have already registered their interest for testing using TCM’s amine plant, including Aker Solutions (which is continuing its use of the plant), as well as Hitachi, Mitsubishi and Siemens.
In addition to the operational amine and chilled ammonia process plants at TCM, 14 leading technology vendors are queuing up to use available space for testing their technologies, which could be used for the construction of one or several smaller test units.
Over the last year TCM has enabled a series of major advancements in reducing the cost and the technical, environmental and financial risks of implementing CO2 capture technology, including . developing and verified simulation tools for the total facility to be used in the planning, operation and evaluation of day to day activities at TCM, establishing an available analytical laboratory tool box, developing a toolbox for process monitoring including emissions, extensive research into possible effect of amines, and establishing a test centre network with national and international institutes and research organisations.
As well as the NOK 400 million commitment to TCM, Norway’s allocation for CCS R&D through the research programme, Climit, will also be increased by NOK 100 million over two years. The government will also promote CCS capacity building and deployment internationally. The Norwegian government has committed to ensuring the financial and other conditions necessary to result in at least one realisation of full-scale CCS project in Norway by 2020.