Norway leads the way in offering commercial CO2 storage

The government is pursuing an active policy to facilitate socio-economically profitable storage of CO2 on the Norwegian continental shelf. The policy allows industries with large emission sources to pay for permanent storage instead of releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. This opens for major emission reductions in Europe.

Estimates show the Norwegian continental shelf has a theoretical storage capacity of 80 billion tons of CO2. This corresponds to around 1,600 years of Norwegian CO2 emissions at current levels. Norway continues its long-term focus on carbon capture and storage as an important measure to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement and notes great interest in storing CO2 on the Norwegian continental shelf.

“Norway is at the forefront of efforts to promote commercial CO2 storage. By facilitating more storage permits, we are strengthening our role as a force for climate-friendly initiatives both nationally and internationally, while creating new opportunities for growth and employment in Norway,” says Minister of Energy Terje Aasland.

The ministry facilitates a fast and efficient allocation of storage permits, allowing players seeking permits to apply as soon as they have developed a sufficiently good application basis. Applications received are assessed consecutively. If the applications meet the criteria, the area considered relevant to allocate is announced with a suitable application deadline.

Based on this process, the ministry announced two areas in the North Sea on March 6, 2024.

By the end of the application period on April 24, the Ministry had received applications from 8 companies.

The Ministry will now process the applications received and aims to award exploration licenses in the second half of 2024.




Equinor Low Carbon Solution AS

Lime Petroleum AS

Northern Lights JV DA

OMV (Norway) AS

PGNiG Upstream Norway AS

Vår Energi ASA

Wintershall Dea Norge AS


Activities aimed at surveying and exploring for subsea reservoirs for the storage of CO2, as well as exploitation, transport, and storage of CO2 in such reservoirs on the Norwegian continental shelf are subject to the regulations on transportation and storage of CO2 into subsea reservoirs on the continental shelf (Regulation 5th December 2014 no. 1517).

Any company conducting such storage operations needs a permit in accordance with the regulations. In addition, on February 20th, 2020, the Petroleum Safety Authority established regulations on safety and the working environment for the transport and storage of CO2 on the continental shelf (the CO2 Safety Regulations)

The Norwegian government are facilitating socio-economically profitable storage of CO2 on the Norwegian continental shelf. Companies with the necessary expertise and specific, industrial plans that entail a need for storage on a commercial basis can apply to the Ministry of Energy for a licence adapted to the needs of the business. The government will conduct a predictable, efficient, and flexible process to award industrial players access to relevant storage options. Areas relevant for awards will be announced publicly. One reason for this is to ensure competition.

In line with the regulations on transport and storage of CO2 into subsea reservoirs on the continental shelf, the ministry normally expects to award an exploration licence prior to awarding an exploitation licence in a relevant area. Exploration licences can be awarded to one or more competent companies. If a licence is awarded to several companies, the ministry will in general appoint one of the companies as operator.

The award of exploration licences will normally include a work program, including one binding phase and subsequent conditional phases with decision points for the continuation or relinquishment of the area in question. Relinquishing an area allows other stakeholders with storage needs to apply for awards of the area. The work program will normally end with a demand that the companies make an investment decision on the realization of CO2 a storage, and that they then submit a plan for development and operation (PUD) for the storage location, or relinquish the area.