In a White Paper to parliament submitted on 21 September, the Norwegian government proposes to launch a carbon capture and storage (CCS) project in Norway. The project has been named ‘Longship’, in Norwegian 'Langskip', and is being described as the greatest climate project by Norwegian industry to date. 

The project will lead to emission cuts, and facilitate development of new technology and thus new jobs, says prime minister Erna Solberg.

The government proposes to first implement its carbon capture plan at Norcem’s cement factory in Brevik. It also intends to fund Fortum Oslo Varme’s waste incineration facility in Oslo, providing that the project secures sufficient self funding as well as funding from the EU or other sources.

For Longship to be a successful climate project for the future, other countries also have to start using the technology. This is one of the reasons why funding is conditional on others contributing financially, says Solberg.

Longship includes funding for the transport and storage project Northern Lights, a joint project of Equinor, Shell and Total. Northern Lights will transport liquid carbon dioxide from capture facilities to a terminal at Øygarden in Vestland County. From there, it will be pumped through pipelines to a reservoir beneath the sea bed.

Minister for Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, commented: “Building bit by bit in collaboration with industry has been important to us in order to be confident that the project is feasible. This approach has worked well, and we now have a decision basis. Longship involves building new infrastructure, and we are preparing the ground for connecting other carbon capture facilities to a carbon storage facility in Norway. This approach is a climate policy that works.” 

According to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, CCS will be necessary to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions in line with the climate targets at the lowest possible cost. There are currently few facilities in operation on a global basis. The government’s view is that more projects that provide technological development are needed, which will in turn will help  reduce costs. If CCS is to become an efficient climate policy instrument, new facilities must be established in Europe and globally.

Norway has committed itself to cutting domestic emissions by 50-55 % by 2030.

The country is in a good position to contribute to the development of CCS. It has a strong technological community in the field of carbon capture, transport and storage. For decades, the development and operation of the carbon dioxide storage projects on the Sleipner and Snøhvit fields have demonstrated safe carbon storage on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The project does involve risks. For Longship to have the desired effect, an ambitious development of climate policies in Europe is needed.  The risks are primarily connected to the economy of the project, such as the technical integration of the different parts of the project, the scope of following projects and necessary support schemes for such projects from the EU and individual countries. 

Total investment in Longship is estimated to be NOK 17.1 billion. This includes the Norcem and Fortum Oslo Varme projects well as  Northern Lights. The operating costs for ten years of operation are estimated at NOK 8 billion.