A future CO2 economy: the case of Norway

Authors: Sirin Engen, Keith Whiriskey

Publisher: Bellona

Bellona has prepared a six-point list on how Norway can develop a CO2 economy which tackles emissions reductions nationally and simultaneously develops CCS as an industry in Europe. The report was in December 2014 sent out for consultation to around 400 Norwegian stakeholders and was in January 2015 updated according to comments from a wide academic community. Bellona recommends that the Norwegian government expands its CCS strategy with the purpose of establishing a profitable value chain for CO2 storage and CCS.

Why develop a CO2 economy in Norway:

  • Attains long-term climate targets in a more cost effective manner
  • CCS ensures future use of natural gas
  • CCS ensures future competitiveness of Norwegian industry
  • CO2 for enhanced oil recovery prolongs life, improves economy and increases oil production of existing fields
  • Leverages current and eventual latent oil infrastructure for CCS and ensures competence and activity is maintained after the extractive oil and gas business stagnates
  • Allows one to take a central role in European energy and climate policy and facilitates emission cuts far beyond its own borders

What you need to know about the CO2 storage industry:

  1. There are ample options for CO2 capture in Norway, especially from industrial emitters
  2. To ensure the storage capacity needed in 2030 is in place, annual investments in the magnitude of €500m in storage development must start in 2020
  3. In a low carbon society, the scale of a CO2 storage industry could be compared with today’s British oil and gas sector, in both size and significance
  4. It is essential to establish a flexible CO2 value chain, along the lines of the six steps outlined here

Norway’s role in Europe toward 2020, 2030 and 2050

In a 2030 and 2050 perspective EU countries’ climate obligations will require large amounts of CO2 to be captured from both power generation and industrial processes. The EU roadmap towards 2050 estimates that by then we have to capture and store between 3.5 and 12.8 gigatonnes of CO2. The most emission-intensive areas in Northern Europe do not have good options for storing captured CO2, particularly due to resistance to CO2 storage on the mainland. To follow its own roadmap, the EU countries must start between 10 and 20 full-scale CO2 capture projects by 2030, which will lead to a great demand for CO2 storage in Northern Europe.

The CO2 storage industry in Norway in 2050 can be about the size of today’s British oil and gas sector. Development of the necessary CO2 storage and injection capacity to realise this, will require comprehensive seismic, characterisation, injection testing, drilling and monitoring. Betting on this path, would have the potential to safeguard, transmit and develop Norwegian expertise and knowledge.

The Norwegian area of the North Sea has enough CO2 storage capacity to handle emissions from the entire EU fossil era. The infrastructure needed for this work is much the same as what is currently used to export oil and gas. By 2020 instruments that foster storage, characterisation and development of large-scale CO2 capture and storage (CCS) must be in place throughout Europe. The first few million tonnes of CO2 we capture should not be stored at a single site, but used to develop the required storage capacity, knowledge of handling and transportation infrastructure. For Norway, the storage and use of CO2 can become a significant industry. Thus efforts to ensure a CO2 value chain must start now.

Original report in Norwegian available at Bellonamelding: Norges fremtidige CO2-økonomi

Summary report in English: A-future-CO2-economy_the-case-of-Norway

Subscribe to our newsletter

Get our latest news

Stay informed