Northern Lights JV orders LNG-fuelled CO2 carriers
Norway's Equinor and its partners in the Northern Lights carbon storage project announced on October 11 they had ordered two CO2 carriers from the Dalian Shipbuilding Industry yard in China that will use LNG as their primary fuel.
The vessels, due for delivery by mid-2024, will also feature wind-assisted propulsion systems and air lubrication technology, in order to reduces their CO2 intensity by a further 34%. The Northern Lights consortium, which also includes Shell and TotalEnergies, said the ships were the first of their kind.
"The use of ships will enable the development of a flexible and efficient European infrastructure network for transport of CO2 captured by our industrial customers, keeping costs as low as possible to help decarbonisation scale up," Northern Lights' managing director Borre Jacobsen said.
The ships, each with a cargo size of 7,500 m3, will handle liquefied CO2 from European emitters and deliver it to a receiving terminal in Oygarden in west Norway. From there, the CO2 will be piped offshore to an aquifer some 3 km under the seabed.
Described by Norway's government as the country's greatest ever climate project, Northern Lights will have an initial storage capacity of only 1.5mn mt/yr, receiving CO2 from a cement plant and a waste-to-energy station in Norway. But its capacity is set to be expanded under a second stage to more than 5mn mt/yr, as it takes on additional customers in Norway and elsewhere in Europe.
The Norwegian Petroleum Directorate recently estimated that the country's continental shelf potentially could sequester 1,000 years of national CO2 emissions. Norway has one of the lowest carbon intensities in the world, in part because it sources most of its power from hydroelectric plants.