The Government of the Kingdom of Norway announced today its approval of the final investment decision for the Northern Lights carbon transport and storage project. Today’s decision will enable the shipping, reception and sequestration of CO2 in geological strata in the Northern North Sea, approximately 2,600 meters below the seabed.

Northern Lights, a project led by energy companies Equinor, Shell and Total, is the transport and storage component of Longship, the Norwegian Government’s full-scale carbon capture and storage project. Longship was unveiled in September, with the government describing carbon capture and storage as a prerequisite for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement climate targets.

Following today’s decision, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Tina Bru, said:

“Carbon capture and storage (CCS) is important to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement. “Longship” is the largest climate project ever in the Norwegian industry and will contribute substantially to the development of CCS as an efficient mitigation measure. Working together with the industry, the step-by-step approach has confirmed that the project is feasible. I want to thank the Northern Lights partners Equinor, Shell and Total – and I am looking forward to our continued cooperation.”

Northern Lights is expected to be the first ever cross-border, open-source CO2 transport and storage infrastructure network, offering European industrial emitters the opportunity to store their CO2 safely and permanently underground. Phase one of the project will be completed in 2024 with a capacity of up to 1.5 million tonnes of CO2 per year. Once the CO2 is captured onshore, it will be transported by newly designed ships, injected and permanently stored 2,600 meters below the seabed of the North Sea. According to the companies, plans exist to increase the capacity to 5 million tons per year through additional phases of development and an increasing customer base.

Equinor, Shell and Total have announced plans to form a joint venture which will be responsible for all Northern Lights project activities, including business development.

Equinor CEO Anders Opedal said:

“Northern Lights is a true pioneering project and the first of its kind offering a solution to cut emissions from industrial sources in Norway and Europe. We are ready to start realising this project that will be an important part of the climate solution. I want to thank the Norwegian government and for the broad political support in making this a reality. I am certain that we together with our partners and suppliers will make this project a success.”

Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said:

“The Norwegian government’s initiative and support for what will be the world’s first open source CO2, transport and storage project shows real vision and commitment. Northern Lights is designed to provide a service to industrial emitters who can now take action on emissions that can’t be avoided. This is key to bringing real progress towards tackling climate change. Shell will play our part in making this a reality.”

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total, said:

“The development of the carbon capture and sequestration value chain is essential to decarbonize Europe’s industries. We are a long-standing partner of Norway, a pioneer country which has more than 20 years of experience in CCS, and today we thank its government for making possible the final investment decision to develop Northern Lights. CCS is key to achieving carbon neutrality in Europe and is fully part of our Climate Ambition to get to net zero emissions by 2050.”