Oil giant inks carbon capture deal with Norwegian Government

Multinational oil and gas company Total has today (7 April) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Norway's Energy Minister to join one of the world's largest facilities for testing carbon capture and storage (CCS).

Total, which recently cut coal from its operations, signed the MoU with Norway’s Petroleum and Energy Minister Terje Søviknes to join the Technology Centre Mongstad (TCM). The centre has an annual capacity of 100,000 tonnes of carbon and has enabled companies to facilitate international CCS projects.

The MoU agreement will extend test operations scheduled to finish in August 2017 through to 2020. Both Shell and Statoil will be involved in these tests as partners to TCM.

Total’s chief technology officer Philippe Baptiste said: “It’s a strategic investment for Total, because it meets our commitment to fight climate change in two ways: by building our expertise in CCS technologies and by reducing the carbon emissions of production facilities. We therefore feel it’s important to be involved in the project, the only industrial-scale one in Europe.”

TCM was established in 2012 and has since developed partnerships with the US Department of Energy. The facility will continue to test new technologies and will assist Statoil’s feasibility studies for CCS at three locations on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Last year, Total decided to divest from its coal production and marketing, now having completely cut coal from its operations as of the end of 2015. In August 2015, the company sold-off its last mining affiliate, Total Coal South Africa.

The company has since launched a programme to fit 5,000 of its service stations across the globe with solar PV panels within the next five years. Total’s role in the partnership is to develop an end-to-end CCS chain by 2025.

CCS – which involves piping emissions to underground and subsea stores – is seen as an important tool in limiting global warming to 2C. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that CCS technologies must capture four billion tonnes of CO2 by 2040 to reach climate change targets.

However, according to a November report from the Global CCS Institute, global CCS schemes will store and capture just 40 million tonnes of CO2 a year in 2017, when 22 projects will be online.

Project pipelines

As part of an exclusive interview with edie, Norway’s Climate and Environment Secretary, Lars Andreas Lunde, claimed that the country hopes to have its first full-scale CCS project pipeline developed by 2022.

“At the moment, the Minister for Petroleum and Energy is looking at three different projects,” Lunde said. “One is a garbage burner in Oslo that is burning the garbage in the metropolitan Oslo area. The second is a cement factory and the third is a fertiliser factory. There are two industry projects and one waste burner factory.

“We need carbon capture and storage technology to reach the 2C target and definitely to reach the 1.5C target. Even if we go into renewable energy there will still be emissions from industry. That will always be there because of the processes of production of aluminium, steel and so on. Secondly, if we cannot reduce our emissions by 2050 then we will need to use carbon-negative solutions.”

Lunde also told edie that the low-carbon energy relations between the UK and Norway will be strengthened post-Brexit. The interview can be read here.

Matt Mace

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