Norway green-lighted to store CO2 in the North Sea

Temporary application of a ten-year-old amendment to a convention means that Norway can now import CO2. This also marks the beginning of possible CO2 storage in the North Sea, petroleum and energy minister says.
Photo: PR / FRP
Photo: PR / FRP

A more than ten-year-old Norwegian dream has finally been granted approval. It will now be possible to sequester CO2 in the North Sea.

A softening of the rules of the London Convention, which prevents the import and export of wastes, paves the way, as CO2 is now exempted.

"This day will be remembered in the times to come," Minister of Petroleum and Energy Kjell Børge Freiberg (Progress Party) tells domestic news agency Norsk Telegrambyrå.

The amendment enables Norway to realize the dream of carbon storage on the Norwegian continental shelf in the North Sea, as such a project needs import of large amounts of CO2 in order to be profitable.

"If we're not capable of moving CO2 across national boundaries, there will be no project," the minister says.

It is a project in which oil firms in particular see sense, as it would reanimate spent oil and gas fields, which could be used for storage.

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Old amendment

It is old news by now that the London Convention is subject to change. This amendment was decided back in 2009 but was never ratified.

Friday, however, it was decided by a broad majority during a meeting that, even though the amended agreement is not ratified, the new changes may enter force.

Good timing

The change comes shortly after a coalition of oil giants and heavy industry led by Equinor signed an agreement to enter CO2 storage.

"When we have done the easy things like building electric cars and wind and solar farms, CCS [carbon capture and sequestration] will be part of the solution. I experience that this acknowledgment is being built into energy policy, for instance, in Germany. Now demand in beginning to increase," Equinor CEO Eldar Sætre told Norwegian business media Dagens Næringsliv a month ago.

English Edit: Jonas Sahl Jørgensen

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