CCS: ‘Norway will do its part in taking action’

By Michael Rogers

Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Kjell-Børge Freiberg (photo: OED/Scanpix)
Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Kjell-Børge Freiberg (photo: OED/Scanpix)

The 10th edition of the bi-annual Trondheim CCS Conference – TCCS-10 – has been underway this week in Norway’s technology “capital”. TCCS-10 – hosted jointly by SINTEF and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), and is organised by the Norwegian CCS Research Centre (NCCS) – has become a globally recognised scientific CCS technology conference, which, since its inception in 2003, has grown to be an essential meeting place for more than 400 CCS experts.

To kick off the TCCS-10, Norway’s Minister of Petroleum and Energy, Kjell-Børge Freiberg, gave the opening speech, outlining the Norwegian government’s vision for future CCS activities.

Minister Freiberg stressed, “… let me be clear – CCS has the potential to be one of the most important measures achieving the goal of more energy and cleaner energy.”

While acknowledging the world’s need for reliable energy sources – the Minister emphasised that Norway can play important role in working to achieve the transition to a lower carbon future, listing key activities that will contribute in a climate context:

  • Contributing to the shift from coal to gas in the European energy mix.

  • In the longer run, hydrogen from natural gas combined with CCS could be a cost-effective option to decarbonise the energy sector – and would work well in combination with other zero-emission technologies.

  • We have a forward leaning industry that cannot reduce emissions by switching fuel or to renewable power. Demonstrating CCS in these industries will provide learnings and reduce costs.

  • We have a strong R&D community within CCS after decades of support.

  • Norway has available storage on our continental shelf to store large amounts of European emissions – and 20 years of experience storing COunder the seabed.

  • And finally, as an ocean-based petroleum industry we can use the competence and technology base to stimulate this development further.

Minister Freiberg outlined the Norwegian government’s strategy to achieve these goals, with three main points. “First, we have an ambition to realize a cost-effective solution for full-scale CCS in Norway, provided that the project leads to technology development internationally,” he said.

The Minister then mentioned demonstrating COcapture from the cement industry or from the burning of waste – both of which have been under review. What’s significant from his speech is that the option of going forward with both projects appears to now be distinctly possible.

The second strategy is to support further CCS research and development, with a nod to the CLIMIT-programfor research, development and demonstration of CCS technologies, which has been led by Gassnova and the Research Council of Norway.

The third point made by the Minister is to support testing of new capture technologies and solutions at the Technology Centre at Mongstad, which has served an important role in CCS development since its inauguration in 2012.

While Minister Kjell-Børge Freiberg’s speech did much to reinforce the Norwegian government’s commitment to CCS, he emphasised that the view is long-term:

“The path towards decarbonisation and the low emission society will take time. This means that we need to push the transition through international collaboration, further research and development, and encouraging industrial deployment.”