French Norwegian collaboration on Carbon Capture and Storage

Written by Gaëlle Cauchois, principal consultant at Carbon Limits AS, member of the French-Norwegian Chamber of Commerce.

The latest report from IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) clearly shows that Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) is essential for the world to meet the 1.5oC target. In the 1990s, Norway introduced a tax on CO2 emissions from a number of sectors, including offshore petroleum production. This incentivized the implementation of two CCS projects on natural gas processing: Sleipner in 1996 and Snøhvit in 2008. More than 20 MtCO2 have been stored over the past 20 years.

CCS-specific initiatives

Conscious of the support required for CCS to be deployed on a large scale, the Norwegian government launched several CCS-specific initiatives: from R&D (CLIMIT Programme), to CO2 capture testing (Test Centre Mongstad), to studies for the deployment of one CCS full-chain project in Norway by the 2020s. Norway has invested more than 2 billion Euros in CCS since 2004. The state enterprise Gassnova takes part in all these initiatives. In particular, it coordinates the work of the Norwegian full-chain project. This project is looking into capturing up to 0.8 MtCO2/y from industry (Norcem cement plant in Brevik) and waste to energy (Fortum plant in Oslo) sectors, transporting it by ship and storing it in a deep saline aquifer 150 km away from the Kollsnes terminal. The transport and storage part of the project, called “Northern Lights”, is led by Equinor working in partnership with Total and Shell.


The government decision 

The FEED (Front End Engineering Design) studies should be finished by the end of the year and the government should make a final investment decision by 2020/2021. This decision will depend on several parameters including the confirmation that proper financial instruments will be in place to incentivize CCS and that this project is not a "one-off opportunity” but contributes to the development of CCS and promotes other projects. Hence, the storage part is overdesigned and can host more than just the foreseen Norwegian CCS projects.  Indeed, the Norwegian continental shelf has extensive CO2 storage capacity and Norway could store CO2 for other European countries, in particular France. Moreover, several industrial sectors see CCS as key in their decarbonization plans. “Northern Lights” together with CO2 emitters around the North Sea have thus applied to be recognized as a Project of Common Interest at European level.


An assessment

Carbon Limits together with the CCFN carried out in 2017 an assessment for Gassnova mapping the CO2 emissions in France and assessing the potential for capturing CO2 from French industry. The main conclusions of this assessment are that:

  1.  Onshore CO2 storage in France, even if possible, could face strong social acceptance issues.
  2.  Up to 17-20 MtCO2/y could be sent by ship from France (Le Havre and Dunkerque clusters mainly) to the North Sea for storage or CO2 Enhanced Oil Recovery.
  3.  In the longer term, an additional 20 MtCO2/y capacity pipeline could be laid parallel to the NorFra gas pipeline from a hub in Dunkerque.


French-Norwegian collaboration

For the past 15 years France and Norway have been collaborating on European CCS research projects (37 out of 84). With the French company  TOTAL notably involved in Sleipner and Snøhvit and more recently in Test Centre Mongstad and Northern Lights, and several industrial and research players participating in R&D projects, France is well positioned in the CCS field. Norway and France should carry on working together in this arena as it is scientifically and financially beneficial for both countries.


Sustainable Blue Growth Forum 

The CCFN together with ClubCO2, Gassnova, Carbon Limits and TOTAL are organizing a side event to the Blue Growth Conference between the 2 respective national CCS associations to foster this relationship between the two countries.

You are welcome to join us on May 23rd at TOTAL Paris La Défense for the workshop “How to improve France – Norway collaboration on CCS?” from 14:00 to 18:00.

Please register your interest for this event here.

For more information, please visit Gassnova new website:


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