Equinor has won a license to develop CO2 storage under the North Sea, Norway’s oil ministry said Jan. 11, part of a push to combat climate change.
Equinor is expected to submit a development plan this year, with parliament making a final decision in 2020 or 2021.
Proponents of carbon capture and storage (CCS) say countries need the technology to help fulfil pledges made around the time of the breakthrough Paris climate change agreement in 2015.
But environmentalists say is a costly technology that will perpetuate the status quo when rapid and deep cuts to energy use are needed to limit global warming.
The planned storage will be located near Norway’s largest oil and gas field, Troll, and aims to be able to receive CO2 from onshore facilities such as power or cement plants, to reduce emissions to the atmosphere.
Equinor and partners Shell and Total are working on FEED studies, which should provide more accurate cost estimates.
The preliminary estimates from 2016 showed it could cost between 7.2 billion crowns (US $852 million) to 12.6 billion crowns to establish a full CCS chain, including CO2 transportation by ships and the subsea storage.
Equinor said about 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year could be pumped for storage under the seabed during the first phase of the project, which could be later expanded.
If approved, the storage is expected to start operations in 2023 or 2024, said Gassnova, a governmental agency in charge of developing the CCS project.
($1 = 8.4487 Norwegian crowns)
The South Asian country, which depends entirely on oil and gas imports, has set a target to develop gas fields in the M2 Block and an LNG import terminal by 2023.
Country plans to award up to $1.8 billion in contracts by September.
The government said the increase in production limits comes as warmer weather reduces the amount of diluent needed to help oil sands bitumen flow through pipelines, increasing capacity.