Norway awards four further North Sea CO2 storage licenses

June 22, 2024
The successful bidders are Aker BP, Equinor, Lime Petroleum, OMV (Norge), PGNiG Upstream Norway and Vår Energi.

Offshore staff

OSLO, Norway — The Norwegian Energy Ministry has awarded six companies exploration licenses to store CO2 in four areas in the North Sea.

It follows a review of applications from eight companies after the acreage was opened in March 2024.

The successful bidders are Aker BP, Equinor, Lime Petroleum, OMV (Norge), PGNiG Upstream Norway and Vår Energi.

It is the sixth time the government has awarded acreage for CO2 storage pursuant to Norway’s CO2 Storage Regulations.

Equinor picked up operatorships of two licenses, Albondigas and Kinno, which should each have the capacity to store about 5 MMt/year of CO2, although this estimate will need to be determined during the exploration phase.

Grete Tveit, senior vice president for Low Carbon Solutions at Equinor said, “We see that demand for CO2 storage is increasing in several countries, and it is crucial to bring forward new CO2 storages quickly, so that we can offer industrial solutions that can support large-scale decarbonization of hard-to-abate industries in Europe."

The company expects to achieve 4-8% real base project returns for its early phase CO2 storage business, higher once commercial markets come together.

Equinor is working on a ship-based solution and a large pipeline to transport industrial emissions from clients in Europe to subsurface storage sites offshore Norway. Its planned CO2 Highway Europe pipeline will have the capacity to transport 25 MMt/year to 35 MMt/year of CO2 from Belgium and France.

The company’s Smeaheia storage license, awarded in 2022, is the anchor for this pipeline development, with Albondigas and Kinno to provide additional storage opportunities.

Equinor is also close to completing Phase 1 of the Northern Lights CO2 transport and storage project in the North Sea with partners Shell and Total Energies. It should be ready to receive CO2 by the second half of this year.

"Gaining access to more CO2 storage capacity aligns well with our ambition of having 30-50 MMt tons of CO2 transport and storage capacity per year by 2035," Tveit said.

Aker BP and PGNiG Upstream Norway were jointly awarded the Atlas CO2 storage license in the North Sea, close to Aker BP-operated Yggdrasil Field development. 

The company will operate Atlas with an 80% interest, with Yggdrasil partner PGNiG Upstream Norway assigned 20%. The license work program includes reprocessing 3D seismic data, geological studies and a drill-or-drop decision after two years.

In March 2023, Aker BP secured operatorship of the Poseidon CO2 storage license in the Norwegian North Sea under a 50:50 joint venture with OMV (Norge). The company said it would apply its experience in reservoir management, drilling of wells and logistics offshore Norway.

Vår Energi (as operator), OMV (Norge) and Lime Petroleum Norway won the Iroko carbon storage license, which could store up to 7.5 MMmt annually of CO2 for at least 30 years.

It is situated northeast of the Vår Energi-operated Balder Field and about 130 km west of Haugesund.